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Nigerian Anglican Bishop says Fulani Muslims have Decimated his Diocese

Nigerian Anglican Bishop says Fulani Muslims have Decimated his Diocese
Archbishop of Canterbury has shown little concern for persecuted Nigerian Anglicans

VIRTUEONLINE interviewed Bishop Markus Dogo recently at CANA East's Diocesan Convention in Binghamton, NY

By David W. Virtue in Binghamton, NY
www.virtueonline.org
May 14, 2017

The Rt. Rev. Markus Dogo, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna State, Nigeria, says the Fulani, a widely dispersed Muslim ethnic group in Sahel and West Africa, pose a bigger threat to Christians in what he called the "middle belt" of North Central Nigeria, than Boko Haran, who are further to the north.

"Their attacks on us are continuous. Recently militants entered one of our villages and killed 256 of 400 people. They come into their homes without provocation and slaughter them. Recently 42 were burned alive in one of my parishes while the militants screamed 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great). The total head count killed to date is over 1500. It is terrible what they are doing to us. The number increases daily."

The bishop spoke movingly of the coordinated assaults on Southern Kaduna villages which, he said, are mostly Christian. "This is nothing more than genocide. The perpetrators are committing crimes against humanity, which include brutal murders. Many of the Fulani are within our borders, but were getting external human and financial capital help from outside the state."

Bishop Dogo, who is married to a Muslim convert to Christianity, said it was necessary to find a lasting peace in order to avoid another Rwanda (where 800,000 innocent people were hacked to death with machetes by their neighbors) or Kosovo in Nigeria and southern Kaduna.

Bishop Dogo said the attacks began in 2011 when a contest election pitted ethnic and religious groups against one another. He said he sees no immediate end to the killings in Southern Kaduna villages, which are mostly Christian. Since then he has worked as a priest in the rural churches.

VOL: How serious is the situation in Northern Nigeria for Anglicans?

DOGO: The Kafanchan diocese is in the Province of Abuja involving. We have 112 churches, 72 priests and evangelists. I have been a bishop for 6 years. Boko Haran is further to the north. We are more in the middle belt. Our problem is with the Fulani Muslins who were disguised yes men for Boko Haram. They are spread over three areas from Cameroon to Senegal. They provide cover for Boko Haran.

VOL: How many diocese and Anglican Christians have been killed do you estimate?

DOGO: Many churches have closed. The Diocese of Madhuri was forced to close down. The bishop died of a heart attack. The Dioceses of Damaturu and Yola were almost closed down because of the persecution. They were not strong mission fields, but they have been held back since 2009.

VOL: How does one do evangelism under these extreme circumstances?

DOGO: It must be done by lifestyle evangelism, not face to face preaching. There is still evangelism being done, but it is low keyed. Archbishop Okoh came up with a program which he called "abiding evangelism" among the natives. If the crisis continues, we will be forced to strategize new ways to reach the indigenous in the north.

VOL: Has the Archbishop of Canterbury shown much or any concern for Nigerian Anglicans? Has he ever called for prayer for your diocese?

DOGO: The ABC has not shown sympathy or compassion for our people. As a Christian and leader of the Anglican Communion, he could still look to us and support, but he has not come to see our dioceses. He has never been to my diocese or shown an interest in the persecution of my people. He came to see Archbishop Okoh, but they did not talk about anything of real substance. He should be concerned to support the faithful Anglicans who are suffering.

VOL: Do you see the Province of Nigeria changing its position and attending Lambeth 2020 or do you think there will be no change?

DOGO: Anything can happen, but I am not hopeful that GAFCON will reach an accord moving towards our coming. GAFCON should not be the main issue but reconciliation, but not apart from what the Bible teaches. Our main concern is preaching the gospel, and any talk of separation is not the main thing.

VOL: Can you see a formal separation from Canterbury down the road?

DOGO: It's not official, but we already have a form of separation. We cannot sit down together. Official or not official, we cannot compromise the Scriptures. We have won the battle.

VOL: Archbishop Okoh, as chairman of GAFCON, seems to be forging ahead with his plans for the Anglican Communion. Many, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, are worried. Do you see this as a good thing for the future of the Anglican Communion?

DOGO: The fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn, but no matter how seriously there is a provision for the ABC to turn, repent and be reconciled. He and the Church of England can turn from what he is doing wrong and repent.

VOL: The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, talks endlessly about racism, but he won't name who the racists are. What is your take on this?

DOGO: Racism is everywhere. We have tribal racism. Ibo and Hausa people both experience racism. America is not the worst society in the world struggling with racism. We saw it in Rwanda. We must stand on the Word of God. We don't need to talk about racism, but repent and go on in a new life for Christ. If we did, racism would die. The Bible teaches us to love one another.

VOL:The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to show more concern for homosexuals in England than for Anglicans being slaughtered in Nigeria. Is that your understanding?

DOGO: British and Nigerian societies are very different. Homosexual practice is not acceptable in Nigerian society. There are so many Christians being killed for the faith in Nigerian and this should be the focus of the Archbishop of Canterbury, how to encourage the church to stand firm in the faith when they are under pressure, rather than looking for ways to make the Bible say something they do not say.

VOL: How is the health and wealth gospel affecting the churches in Nigeria?

DOGO: Many Pentecostals are coming back to the Anglican Church. One man publicly derobed himself as a bishop and became a deacon.

VOL: Do you see an end to the persecution of Christians in Nigeria?

DOGO: It is going to stay for a while, but it is going to end one day. Alive or dead, it will end. Sooner or later, peace will come. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and preach the gospel even to the enemy.

END

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