The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed deep shock over the attacks by extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which is said to have cost the lives of more than 2,000 people, including children used in suicide bomb attacks.
“A mind-set which deploys young children as bombs and which indiscriminately slaughters women, children and elderly people is beyond outrage, and disqualifies itself from any possible claim to religious justification,” reads a statement issued by the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 January.
In the statement, the WCC calls on the Nigerian government to respond meaningfully to these attacks and to ensure protection of the people from any and all such atrocities.
The WCC also joined its voice with those of Nigerian religious leaders who have called for the international community’s solidarity and engagement, expressing deep disappointment at the relative – even discriminatory – lack of international media coverage. “As much as the WCC joins in the international solidarity with the people of France in the aftermath of the recent attacks in and near Paris, we are deeply saddened that the tragic events in Nigeria have not attracted equivalent international concern and solidarity,” reads the statement.
The WCC has member churches in Nigeria. The Council has been actively engaged in inter-religious peace initiatives in the country in cooperation with local partners. A high-level Christian-Muslim visit to Nigeria in 2012 was co-led by the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Prince Ghazi of Jordan of the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute (RABIIT). The two organizations have been working together to establish a centre to monitor religiously based violence and promote inter-religious harmony, justice and peace. The centre in Abuja will open during the first half of 2015.