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DeSantis Vows to Promote Religious Freedom for Nigerians and All Christians

8 Day Toll of Islamist Killling Spree in Plateau 295: Civil Society Coalition

By Douglas Burton

(Sioux City, IA) Presidential Candidate Ron DeSantis  condemned the heartless killings of unarmed Nigerian farmers since Christmas and vowed to bring religious freedom to all persecuted Christians as President during a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday.

Gov. DeSantis visited the Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, according to longtime member Judd Saul, founder of the Nigerian Mission known as Equipping the Persecuted and the website, TruthNigeria.com. “He vowed to promote religious freedom for all Christians, especially in Nigeria,” Judd told TruthNigeria.

The mainstream media ignores the persecution because it’s Christians that are being killed, DeSantis said to members of the congregation who participated in a one-hour question and answer session held in the church after the worship service.

DeSantis was asked this question by Judd Saul: “200 Christians in Nigeria were just killed over Christmas. Since Biden has taken office it has become a bigger breeding ground for terrorism across northern africa and going into central africa. What will you do as president to use our foreign influence and power to protect Christians and innocent people especially in places like Nigeria?”

DeSantis: “Yeah, I think there is less attention on that because they’re Christian. I don’t think it fits the narrative. We will stand for robust religious freedom across the country and across the world. We will definitely stand against the persecution of Christians. I think it’s something that you’re not going to get plaudits from the media for because it’s not what they necessarily want to see. But I think it’s something that flows from our values, so you can count on me to be a defender of that.”

DeSantis was introduced by Senior Pastor Cary Gordon. By referencing the genocidal killings of Christians that have marred Nigerian politics for more than 14 years, DeSantis has raised the profile of religious freedom advocacy, according to Saul, who said he hopes that other candidates will weigh in on US diplomatic options that would help save lives.  “The restored declaration of Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern, is an obvious first step,” Judd said.

“Secretary Blinken simply erased Nigeria from the list of human rights bad actors before his first trip to Africa in 2021 but without explanation,” Judd said. But recent history shows that Nigeria deserves to be on that list, and the world community needs to help the government to enforce its own laws,” he added.

Condemnations of the Nigerian slaughter have poured in since Christmas and in Pope Francis’ homily on Dec 31, he prayed for Nigerian Christians:

“Unfortunately, the celebration of Christmas in Nigeria was marked by serious violence in the State of Plateau, with many victims. I am praying for them and their families. May God free Nigeria from these atrocities!” the Pope said.

The Nigerian army has yet to explain to the public why it failed to respond to the attacks that began over a broad swath of territories in Central Plateau State on Dec. 24.  Amnesty International claimed that the military didn’t respond to the attacks for 48 hours.

The Third Division of the Nigerian Army is based at a large compound in the West part of Jos.  Pastor Ezekiel Dachomo, a leading cleric with Church of Christ in All Nations in Mangu and Bokkos counties has said on videotaped messages that local survivors of the attacks in Bokkos spotted Nigerian armored vehicles assisting the attackers during the first two days of the atrocities. TruthNigeria has not confirmed the claim.

Sectarian Slaughter of Christians Continues

NGO operator Judd Saul, center, standing with his security team in Abuja in early 2023.  Courtesy of ETP.
NGO operator Judd Saul, center, standing with his security team in Abuja in early 2023. Courtesy of ETP.

Newsweek Nigeria reported Dec. 31 that Islamic terrorists expanded their attack zone to Shere village in the eastern suburbs of Jos, a metropolis of 7 million in Plateau State. Seven villagers were confirmed dead and one of the Islamist mercenaries, according to NewsweekNg.

The onslaught of radicalized Islamist mercenaries against Christian residents of Central Plateau State has now lasted a full seven days and has taken 295 lives, according to Rev.  Chris Damcher, spokesman for a group called Plateau Civil Society Organizations Forum that held a press event Dec. 29 at the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Jos.

“From on the spot assessment as at now, our records are that thirty (30) communities were attacked, two hundred and ninety five (295) persons dead, ninety- eight (98) injured and hospitalized, one thousand three hundred houses burnt(1,300), two hundred vehicles totally burnt, ” Rev Damcher said.

“From our observation and what is glaringly taking place on the Plateau is the sprouting of strange new Fulani settlements and herders at the footage of the hills all around the Northern and parts of the Central Zones of Plateau State. Meanwhile, the original owners of the lands have been displaced to the Internally Displaced Person Camps (IDPs) and other host communities where they are out of touch with economic realities,” Damcher said.

‘The lands are being taken over and there is no government and traditional institutions fighting or promoting the returning of the IDPs to their ancestral land, while the grabbers are moving around freely and molesting citizens,” Damcher added.

By close of business on New Year’s eve, the Nigerian army has not reported any arrests of terrorists who reportedly attacked communities simultaneously on Christmas eve.

Nigerian Diaspora in the United States Condemns the Inept Action of President Bola Tinubu

Felicia Sodipe, president of the Berom Community of North America . Courtesy of Felicia Sodipe.
Felicia Sodipe, president of the Berom Community of North America . Courtesy of Felicia Sodipe.

One tribe that suffered scores of losses in the Christmas attacks are the Berom people who are represented by Ms. Felicia Sodipe in El Paso, TX.

“The Berom Community in North America (BCNA) Condemns Christmas Eve Killings, and Urges Swift Action,” Sodipe said to TruthNigeria exclusively on Dec. 30.

“We feel that the response from President Tinubu was not swift enough, considering the gravity of the intelligence provided. Lives were lost, families shattered, and our communities are left in despair. It is imperative that justice is served, and those responsible are held accountable,” a spokesperson for the Berom Community stated.

Sodipe went on to text: “The Berom Community in North America (BCNA) has condemned the recent spate of Christmas Eve killings that ravaged several communities in the Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Ladi areas of Plateau State. The community attributes these heinous acts to a disturbing pattern of ethnic cleansing and land grabbing activities that have plagued the region, resulting in the destruction of lives and properties, and the displacement of numerous communities.

“Expressing their deep concern, they assert that the Fulanis have, in some instances, taken control and occupied these displaced communities, further exacerbating the complex situation.

Barrister Solomon Mwantiri, the chief of the Berom Tribe in Plateau State, has reported than on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, terrorists speaking the Fulani language, have been returning to burned villages in Bokkos County to remove doors and zink roof tiles from the smoking houses to make re-inhabitation of homeless villages the more difficult. 

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Douglas Burton is an award-winning conflict reporter and the Managing editor of TruthNigeria in Washington.

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