RFI Senior Fellow Delivers Urgent Message to University Students on Christian Persecution in Nigeria

February 3, 2022

Stephen Rasche, RFI Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom Policy, spoke at the Franciscan University of Steubenville last week on the ongoing persecution of Nigerian Christians by Boko Haram and other Islamist groups. His presentation titled, “Nigeria on the Brink: The Current Crisis of Anti-Christian Violence in Nigeria and the International Response,” was moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review and reported on by Catholic News Agency (CNA). 

According to Rache, “the Nigerian government has largely abdicated its responsibility to keep its citizens safe, resulting in widespread, religiously motivated violence and a general lawlessness in the northern part of the country,” CNA reports.

Rasche argued that the situation is only made worse by the U.S. State Department’s recent decision to remove Nigeria from its annual “Countries of Particular Concern” list, which identifies those countries that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” “The result is that the Christians are just out of options in terms of getting governments to recognize the truth of what’s happening,” Rasche said. 

Also included in Rasche’s presentation were video messages from two Nigerian Catholic bishops — Stephen Dami Mamza of Yola and Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto — both of whom testified to the brutal persecution that Christians are experiencing in the country (RFI held a livestream policy discussion on these matters in Dec. 2021 that also featured a video of Bishop Mamza).

Watch Rasche’s full presentation at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.