Europe encouraged to do more than talk for suffering Nigeria

Europe encouraged to do more than talk for suffering Nigeria A woman reacts during a protest against violence in Nigeria. Photo: OSV News/Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters

A Nigerian priest living in Ireland has welcomed the European Parliament’s adoption of a resolution condemning violence targeting Christians in Nigeria that took place over Christmas but has said that action rather than words is needed.

Athlone-based Fr Innocent Sunu of the diocese of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria said that while he welcomes the international attention that a European condemnation of the violence brings, “we are left on our own to survive on our own…they [the European Parliament] do not do anything.

“They just leave us and then we’re hanging on our own to survive,” Fr Sunu said.

The attacks condemned by the European Parliament were carried out by gunmen on more than 160 villages in Nigeria’s Plateau State, which resulted in the deaths of over 335 people, including at least 200 members of Christian communities, between December 23 and 25 2023.

“The politicians need to go and see the destruction and the devastation caused by enemies of Christianity and enemies of good-living people…it’s not about discussing what’s happening in parliament or taking tea and coffee, it’s about seeing your brother and sister and ensuring that things go well for them,” Fr Sunu told The Irish Catholic newspaper.

Meanwhile, another Nigerian priest, Cavan-based Fr Yusuf Bamai, said that the complexity of the issues Nigeria is facing needs to be understood if they’re to be combatted effectively.

“The situation is very delicate and complicated that sometimes, one has to be very careful in describing as a religious situation. The both sides of religion [Christian and Muslim] are affected,” Fr Bamai said.

“The truth of the matter is that we have a serious security problem, we have a political problem, we have a tribal problem and we have also an economic problem. All of these factors contribute to making the crisis or the situation very complicated.”