By Ama Chukwugoziem (Abia writers) 

Edited and published by Joseph Afokwalam

Never will a week go by without news of violence and its attendant records of deaths. The most notable act of violence in Nigeria's heterogeneous contraption is on Christian worshippers. Nowadays, it is dangerous and sad for Christians to profess their faith, especially in the core Islamic north.

Banditry is a new lucrative business; hence they can send a threat to the Christian Association in Nigeria (CAN) to close all churches for three months from December. DSP Mohammed Shehu, the Zamfara state police PRO, confirmed it in a viral video when he called the Christian Association of Nigeria to tell them about the threat letter. If they are not getting supported, how could the Islamic government under Mohammed Buhari call them " their misguided brothers"? All these are targeted at Biafrans, who are predominantly Christians. 

What baffles me is the change in the appellation. When Fulani Herdsmen reigned Supreme, the authorities found it hard to label them terrorists even when they were ranked the fourth deadliest terror group globally. They are no longer called Fulani herdsmen; they are called bandits to water down the terror associated with their actions. This new name bandit is just a baptism of terror. It has not wiped away the gory and sick events that follow their wake. Their activities have struck and continue to strike more fear in people's hearts than before. Other times in Biafra land, they are called unknown gunmen.

Even their operation, which classifies them as terrorists, has not been judged so by the corrupt Nigeria Islamic government. Instead, their designation as bandits became a better strategy to numb the people's sense not to see Nigeria as a failed state. It's difficult to nail down exact statistics on religiously motivated violence facing Christians or traditional religious groups. Still, the number of Christians who have died directly or indirectly due to Islamist fueled conflict runs into hundreds of thousands. And there are frequent reports of attacks on houses of worship, religious leaders and others. 

The plight of persecuted Christians cannot be overemphasized. Instead of the government going after the Bandits who sent a threat to Christians, DSP Mohammed Shehu called on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to close their worship activities earlier. This brings to mind an article from one of the Nigeria dailies, "Christian groups frown at Blinken for removing Nigeria from the religious persecuted list". The headline reads, "Christians groups, a US government panel and former senior US diplomat are furious over Secretary of State Antony Blinken's decision to take Nigeria off a list of countries engaging in or tolerating religious persecution. (Rex Newspaper, Sunday, 28th November 2021) The rise of Islamic terror organizations in Nigeria has made religion a more significant factor. 

In conclusion, as bandits and banditry continue to reign Supreme with the news of their exploits resounding across the contraption, nothing can be the same. The latest in Zamafra state is the kidnap of Christian corps members. There is no guaranteed security for Christians living in a state where one is to defend himself. Remember, self-determination is a human right.

The restoration of Biafra is our last hope.

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