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What Juneteenth Means to TruthNigeria

By Douglas Burton

Juneteenth is not celebrated in Nigeria as a Federal holiday, but the editors and reporters of TruthNigeria on both sides of the Atlantic mark June 19th as a benchmark for emancipation of enslaved people everywhere. The holiday has its origins in memorializing the close of the American Civil War, the conflict that defined America’s moral reconnoitering of the 19th Century.

As President Joseph Biden proclaimed this week, “On June 19, 1865, freedom finally came for the 250,000 enslaved people of Texas.  That day, which would become known as Juneteenth, the Army arrived to enforce what had already been the law of the land for two and a half years — the Emancipation Proclamation.” 

For persecuted Christians in Nigeria, the hope of a full representation in the law courts, the national legislature and at the executive level of state governments is still largely a “hope deferred,” in the language of Proverbs.  Nigeria is a secular democracy and is governed by a constitution, but that constitution mentions Islam 162 times whereas Christianity isn’t mentioned once.

Americans chuckle today at  slogans such as “The South shall rise again!  But the Islamic conquest of the Niger Basin launched on horseback by warlord Usman dan Fodio in 1804 is still an armed aspiration of Nigerian Muslim radicals.

All of which explains why TruthNigeria had to be launched as a new conflict-reporting site one year ago this month. “Other publications weren’t telling the full extent of atrocities committed against Nigerian Christians,” according to Christian philanthropist Judd Saul, the founder of TruthNigeria.  Having made several visits to Nigeria to assist the humanitarian missions of his maternal grandfather, Saul concluded that Americans couldn’t grasp the suffering of Nigerian Christians because the Western media wasn’t engaged enough to tell their story.

What TruthNigeria Does that’s Different

In an age of narrative, TruthNigeria insists on reporting the grim facts of what human rights experts call Nigeria’s “Christian genocide.” The governing authorities don’t like to hear it, but like a gallon of milk that has been smashed on the kitchen floor, it can’t be ignored. Murders, rapes and kidnappings happen every day in war-torn Nigeria. An unwritten rule among the mainstream Nigerian media houses is that reporters are not supposed to notice that a disproportionate amount of violent crime is Muslim on Christian.  But TruthNigeria notices every time. And the prevalence of crime against defenseless Christian men, women and children is horrifying.

Crimes against Muslims are more equal than crimes against Christians.

Map of Violent Islamization of Plateau State over last 15 years. Graphic by Masara Kim/TruthNigeria.
Map of Violent Islamization of Plateau State over last 15 years. Graphic by Masara Kim/TruthNigeria.

TruthNigeria gave voice to Christian leaders who saw that the kidnapping of 17 Christians in Kaduna City has gone unsolved by authorities for four months; in contrast a kidnapping of 200 Muslim School children about the same time got the direct intervention of the governor, and the abducted children were repatriated within two weeks.  When three hapless Christian men are yanked from a passenger bus by Islamist terrorists and killed for their faith on June 5th, neither the governor of their state, or the Muslim president, or the Christian First Lady could be bothered to express condolence. The mainstream Nigerian press did not notice, but TruthNigeria did.  And TruthNigeria noticed that jihad against Christians in Nigeria is also a war on women.

Documenting Genocide’s Hall of Shame

·      Only TruthNigeria reported that the horrific blasphemy murder of 21-year-old Deborah Emmanuel in Sokoto on May 12, 2022 was planned weeks in advance by  a sectarian hate group embedded in the Sokoto State government.

·      TruthNigeria reporter Luka Binniyat was the only reporter to show that mass kidnapping of women for ransom in Kaduna State was in fact kidnapping  of women for sex slavery.

·      Alone among Nigerian media, TruthNigeria reported the extrajudicial killings of four unarmed protestors by Nigerian soldiers in the town of Mangu on Aug. 7,2023 and the killing of two unarmed protestors on the campus of Plateau State University on April 19, 2024.

·      Only TruthNigeria documented the number of towns whacked, sacked and renamed in Plateau State by radicalized, armed mercenaries and presented maps showing the regions where tens of thousands of Christian land holders have been uprooted and displaced by armed terrorists.  

·      Alone among Nigerian media TruthNigeria interviewed farmers in all 14 counties of Nigeria’s Zamfara State and assessed that terrorist kingpins were extorting $10 million each year from planters who had to pay a levy to harvest grain on their own land. In effect, the state’s hardworking farmers were being reduced to serfdom.

Managing editor Douglas Burton taking a selfie with students at Paradise School for children.
Managing editor Douglas Burton taking a selfie with students at Paradise School for children.

We at Truth Nigeria will support the existing efforts of patriotic Nigerians to hold criminals in government and elsewhere accountable for crime, abuse of power and misuse of public assets. We uphold the natural right of all people in Africa to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rule of law and access to just paths to prosperity. There are 218 million stories to be told in Nigeria, and we stand confidant that the Nigerian people have the same aspirations, the same respect for truth, beaty and goodness as the people of all nations. Where there are possible bridges between the United States and Nigeria, we will build them. The common humanity between the two countries will be explored and celebrated on Juneteenth and every other day.

Douglas Burton is a career reporter/editor and the managing editor of TruthNigeria.com

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