Nigeria is not the Middle East – Christians aren’t a tiny minority, they’re at least half of Africa’s most populous nation of 200 million, and their patience can’t be expected to be infinite. If Christians in Nigeria were ever to decide to take the fight to the enemy, the resulting violence could make the Christian/Muslim carnage in the nearby Central Africa Republic, which left thousands dead and produced almost a million refugees and displaced persons, seem a mere spat. A victim of the violence named Dalyop Davou Jugu had much the same sense.
The Fulani-driven violence is often described as not “religious” or “sectarian,” because it also involves a decades-old land use conflict between herders and farmers. However, Sister Monica Chikwe of the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy recently told me during a Rome conference on anti-Christian persecution that it’s tough to tell Nigerian Christians this isn’t a religious conflict since what they see are Fulani fighters clad entirely in black, chanting “Allahu Akhbar!” and screaming “Death to Christians!”