By Lawrence Zongo
My name is Lawrence Zongo, and I teach History in high school in rural towns and villages of Plateau State, in north-central Nigeria. I chose to major in history and international studies at the University of Jos, due to a passion I have for documentation.
I have a keen interest in visiting rural communities where human rights abuses and violations are going on daily. I take injustice personally, which is why I became a human-rights activist. I was shocked by the silence of the mainstream media in the West regarding the rampant killings in my country, but even more disturbing was the lack of public discussion going on in my community and other communities in northern Nigeria.
All over the North and Central belt of Nigeria citizens are facing abuses and violations by state agents and sectarian actors. You may have read about the terrorist group Boko Haram, which claims a link to Islamic State. But there are unlawful killings by Islamic Fulani militias that have taken more lives than Boko Haram. Despite my poor background in journalism and human rights, I felt called to advocate for rural communities with the help of Mr. Kyle Abts, one of the founders of the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON). My dream is to launch a website and reporting service called “Rural Watch.”
Mr. Abts gave me a cell phone and assisted me with transportation money. I travel on commercial buses from town to town, and often walk out to rural villages (see picture). I also rent motorcycle taxis to take me around to do eyewitness reporting for ICON. I also contribute my interviews to Mr. Douglas Burton, a Washington, D.C.-based reporter who does freelance stories for American media.
Transportation is a big expense for me. I have visited rural communities in Plateau state, Borno, Kaduna, Taraba, Nassarawa, Kogi, etc. I make a living by teaching history and doing humanitarian relief visits between cities in Nigeria’s so-called “Bad Lands.” There is so much senseless violence against Christians in these killings zones; much of it doesn’t even get reported.
Killings and burning of houses and churches by suspected Islamic Fulani Militias in Plateau state Nigeria are often not reported or investigated. On 15th October 2017, 29 people in a Christian community (men, women and children) were massacred in cold blood. In the primary school Nkiendoro, they were killed by Islamic Fulani militias in a classroom. Army soldiers ushered them into the classroom and guaranteed their safety, but failed in protecting them. In the same incident Fulani terrorists burned 34 houses and 2 churches, and burned food crops. Police and army security made no effort to investigate or to compensate persons of concern.
On Dec. 8, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., in the Zunuruk community in the remote eastern part of Kaduna State, Islamic Fulani terrorists attacked Christian youths taking part in a Christmas football tournament. Tragically, the coach of a team and four Christian players were killed, whereas three others survived serious gunshot wounds. Afterwards there was no official report from the government, nor any offer to help pay the hospital bills for the survivors. I made several trips to Zunuruk to interview witnesses, transferring photos and testimonies to Mr. Burton, who published this story in the Washington Times
(www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/24/strained-christmas-joy-in-nigeria/) and here in Znewsservice.com (https://znewsservice.com/story/nigeria-on-the-brink).
I believe that with prayers, one day killings of Christians will end, and violations of human rights will end in Nigeria. We, the Christian citizens, have to raise our voices, visit the affected victims and report situations without bias. We need to find those who will pray for rural communities in Nigeria, support financially and report the situations. If readers can help me with transportation money, I am ready to go.