The advice came from Bishop Diamond Emuobor, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria as reported by the Daily Post.
The Christian leader said there is biblical basis for Christians arming themselves against their enemies, citing Luke 22:36.
“Jesus says in the book of Luke that those who have no sword should sell their coats and buy one for the defence of their lives,” Emuobor said.
“We are all human beings. Nobody should catch you like a snail and slaughter because you believe in Jesus Christ,” the bishop said.
Emuobor made the call as the persecution and slaughtering of minority Christians in Nigeria by Islamist extremists continue unabated.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Islamist violence and terrorism has killed more than 12,000 Christians in Nigeria, destroying some 2,000 churches. Boko Haram militants have done much of the killings, but in the past year a new source of Islamist terror has emerged. The group is called the Fulani Herdsmen Terrorists (FHT).
The Fulani terrorists have killed dozens of Christians in just the past few weeks alone, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).
This January the Fulani attackers attacked the predominantly Christian village of Kwayine in Adamawa State, killing 10 people and destroying homes.
The ICC said that although Nigeria has been waging a military campaign against Boko Haram, military authorities have refused to act against the Fulani terrorist group.
“This is yet another example of the government’s failure to provide adequate protection for Christian communities in this region and refusal to stamp out the radical movements that cause these deadly attacks,” said ICC Regional Manager Daniel Harris.
“The government’s refusal to recognise the Fulani militants as what they are, Islamic terrorists, threatens religious freedom and the lives of Christians in this region,” he added.
Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Diocese of Kafanchan said the FHT, although not very known in the West, is becoming a huge menace to Christians and moderate Muslims alike.
The group’s aggression, the bishop said, “has turned into religious persecution.”