Warnings of 'unprecedented violence' in Nigeria after priest's murder and abduction of hundreds of schoolboys

Men march along a truck carrying the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi, Nigeria on January 11, 2018.(Photo: Reuters)

Nigeria is at risk of becoming a failed state if it cannot halt the violent murders and kidnappings taking place at the hands of extremists, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has warned. 

The NGO said there had been a "catastrophic failure" in the country's security services after more than 330 boys were abducted from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area (LGA), Katsina state, on 11 December. 

Boko Haram faction leader Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the abductions. In a recorded message sent to the Nigerian media house, HumAngle, he said the action was carried out "to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet".

Boko Haram has claimed it is holding over 500 boys, far higher than the official figure. 

One day earlier, in Niger state, gunmen murdered a pastor and abducted his wife. 

Rev Jeremiah Ibrahim was killed when gunmen attacked the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) vicarage in Chikuba town, Shiroro LGA, on 10 December. He and his wife were visiting the church at the time of the attack. 

The gunmen are demanding N50 million (around US$26,300) for the return of his wife, who was abducted along with four other women. 

CSW said Nigeria was witnessing "unprecedented levels of violence", with militants preying on civilians "at will".

"The government's continuing inability to deal decisively with terrorism in the northeast, militia activity in the centre and parts of the south, armed banditry in the northwest, and abductions for ransom nationwide, is indicative of a catastrophic failure of the entire security structure," said Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Founder President.

"A fresh, comprehensive and effective security strategy must be formulated and enacted as a matter of urgency in order to address all sources of violence, to ensure protection for Nigeria's besieged citizens, and to avert the nation's descent into failed statehood."