It is now time for good men and women to stand up and do something

OPINION: The appalling plight of Christians in Nigeria, where more than 4,500 people are believed to have been slain, has been highlighted by Killarney Municipal District Council member Cllr John O’Donoghue who wants Ireland to urge the UN to take action. This is his view:

Cllr John O’Donoghue who has raised his concerns with the Irish Embassy in Abuja

I HAVE proposed that Ireland calls on the United Nations to seek to ensure the safety of Christians in Nigeria where it is estimated that at least 4,500 people have been murdered thus far in 2021

This is a problem becoming increasingly widespread across the world but, at present, it is particularly prevalent in Nigeria. I’m sure we all condemn the persecution of any individual or group for whatsoever reason, be it religious, racial, ethnic, or any other misguided notion.

Ireland has a long and proud tradition of both missionary and aid relief work across all of Africa, including Nigeria, and it is a gross negligence, bordering on culpability by inaction, for the western world, including Ireland, to now abandon these people to this horrific fate.

Unfortunately, President Buhari at best appears too weak and is probably too inept as a leader to address this issue as he denies its existence, despite concrete evidence to the contrary.

As Bernard-Henri Levy wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “A slow-motion war is underway in Africa’s most populous country. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. And the world has hardly noticed.”

Comparing the violence in Nigeria to Rwanda in the 1990s and to Darfur and South Sudan in the 2000s, Levy asked will the west let history repeat itself in Nigeria?

I personally have been in contact with the Irish Embassy in Abuja to see if I can I get a figure for how many Irish citizens currently live in Nigeria and I await the response.

Ireland currently has a very prominent role in the UN due to its seat on the Security Council. I call on the government to use its now considerable influence to protect these people the world seems to be abandoning.

If I could conclude with a quote from John Stuart Mill, which incidentally is often incorrectly attributed to others and also, unfortunately, almost always misquoted, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing”.

It is now time for good men and women to stand up and do something.