Food and shelter urgently needed for victims of violence in Nigeria: please help before the rains start

27 April 2020

“With this coronavirus people are suffering, but this killing is more dangerous than the coronavirus. How many people has the coronavirus killed in this country? But this incessant killing is getting too much… Foodstuffs have been burnt. Unless something is done, I don’t know where my people will stay during this rainy season.”

This desperate plea came to Barnabas Fund from Rev. Ronku Aka, chief of the Irigwe tribe, after an attack on Hura village, in Plateau state, Nigeria, on 14 April.

The attack came at about 7.00 pm from Fulani militants, shouting “Allahu akbar, come out, come out!” amidst gunshots. Nine Christians were killed, 21 houses completely burnt and seven others damaged. The dead included a pregnant woman, her three-year-old son and two five-year-olds from other families. All nine were buried in two graves the following day, after which women and children started evacuating the village, walking the dusty tracks to seek safety in a town some miles away.

Terrorism on the rise, in time of lockdown

Islamist terrorist groups in Nigeria and elsewhere are increasing their activity, spurred on by the fact that governments have switched their resources to combatting Covid-19; this leaves the terrorists free to launch their attacks with impunity.

For Christians in such places, the deadly coronavirus pandemic, and the lockdown that could soon be equally deadly for the poor, are yet more ways they might die, in addition to the ongoing anti-Christian terrorist attacks.

Jihadi groups have celebrated the new disease, describing the virus as a “small soldier of Allah” sent to attack his enemies. Some are even reported to believe that fighting jihad will guarantee you protection from catching Covid-19.

A spate of deadly Islamist militant attacks occurred in Mali and Cameroon as well as Nigeria earlier this month. The callous attack on Hura village came within weeks of similar Fulani militant raids that saw seven elderly Christians burnt to death and the murder of young pastor and father, Matthew Tagwi, in the same district as Hura.

Urgent help needed before the rainy season starts

“The rainy season is approaching and these people whose houses have been burnt - where are they going to stay?” asked Rev. Ronku.

Please help Barnabas Fund to support the hungry, homeless victims of Hura village. For them it is not a question of staying home under lockdown – they no longer have homes.

The displaced Christian families need food and they need materials to rebuild the homes destroyed in the attack. But this is urgent. The rainy season usually lasts from April to October. If the mud buildings are not repaired and re-roofed very soon, the heavy tropical storms will destroy them.

£5 ($6.50; €6) could buy a pack of roofing nails

£15 ($20; €18) could buy 50 kg of maize, to last a family through the rainy season

£27 ($34; €31) could buy 2 sleeping mats and 2 blankets

£44 ($55; €51) could buy a bundle of zinc roofing sheets

Please help them today.

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