Statement of Rep. Smith on Killing of Priests and Parishioners in Nigeria
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the House Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement on the April 24 attack on St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Nigeria’s Makurdi Diocese:
“Tuesday’s killing of priests and parishioners on the grounds of St Ignatius Catholic Church in the Makurdi Diocese signals that the religious violence in Nigeria is escalating. It’s imperative that Nigerian authorities punish those who are culpable, lest violence worsen during the upcoming election cycle. Nigeria should explore justice system reforms that address grievances so that herdsman – the perpetrators of much of the recent violence – cease targeting farmers, exacerbating religious and ethnic tensions in the process. It would also be timely to look into establishing a religious equity commission that can help foster respect for members of different religions in Nigeria.”
On a trip to Nigeria in 2013, Smith joined Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos in visiting multiple churches that had been firebombed, and met with survivors.