DUP MEP Diane Dodds co-hosted on Tuesday a seminar in the European Parliament on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
Mrs Dodds was joined by representatives of the Nigerian Church who updated MEPs on the continued threats upon them.
While the seminar was taking place, reports from Syria said that a number of Christian church leaders had been kidnapped
Speaking from Brussels, Diane Dodds said: “It was a privilege to co-host this event with my colleague Bastian Belder MEP, and to welcome my colleagues from the Foreign Affairs Committee, I hope that this will raise awareness of the stark reality presented by Christian persecution in Nigeria.
“The seminar, organised by the Dutch organisation SDOK and the Nigerian based organisation, Voice of the Christian martyrs, gave us the opportunity to hear firsthand from those who had been victims of direct persecution.
“One man, Adamu Habila, told his story of being shot through the head at the hands of Islamic extremists and his miraculous survival.
“Also present was a woman whose father was murdered, his sole crime being his commitment to the Christian faith.
“The Open Doors 2013 World Watch List places Nigeria at 13th on the list of countries throughout the globe where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
“Over the past three years, this persecution has translated into the murder of over 800 Christians by Islamist extremists, including the Boko Haram terrorist group. Only last July, fifty members of the Church of Christ in Nigeria were killed by gunmen in the village of Maseh.
“In similar instances, hundreds more have been seriously injured and countless families rendered homeless as a result of violent intolerance.
“In everyday life, many Christians in Nigeria live in continual fear. Those living in Northern States of the country suffer specific restrictions in education, marriage and in access to employment and amenities such as clean water.
“Unfortunately, this situation appears to becoming even more perilous, as the political divide between the Islamist North and the Christian South continues to widen. In many areas, the Nigerian police and military forces appear complicit to anti-Christian activity, with members letting religious bias undermine their duty to protect local communities. Some participate in violence against Christians.
“Therefore it is vital that we support Christians who live and worship in Nigeria.
“Last month, High Representative Catherine Ashton informed me that an EU mission had recently visited Nigeria to examine potential forms of support for fighting terrorism in the country.
“The EU is also preparing a project that would focus on conflict prevention and youth employment in the Plateau State, where the level of Christian persecution remains very high. These developments are positive and much-needed.
“However, the European Parliament, can and must do more to alleviate suffering and secure a better future for Christians in Nigeria.
“It is my intention to continue to work with colleagues in the European Parliament to try and give a voice to those who are persecuted.”