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St. Theresa's Catholic Church building after a
Christmas Day bombing that claimed 45 lives.
Photo: Abayomi Fayese via Compass Direct News

On January 1, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area amid a rising tide of violence. Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, also said that fighters were ready to confront soldiers sent to the area under a state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Vowing to render Nigeria "ungovernable," Boko Haram targets anything that does not support its fundamentalist Islamist ends and jihadist means: universities, police, secular courts, Christian churches and even liberal mosques.

The state of emergency came after a string of attacks in late December, where churches, a state security building, and a mosque were bombed. By December 31, President Jonathan had closed Nigeria's borders with Chad and Niger Republic and declared the state of emergency in 15 hard-hit local government areas of Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Niger states, sending tanks and soldiers to patrol the streets.

Pray for those who were injured or who lost loved ones over Christmas. Pray the Lord will minister to them and help them overcome their present sufferings. Pray that those responsible will be brought to justice and that they will come to repentance and gain knowledge of Christ. Pray that God will frustrate the plans of the enemy (Nehemiah 4:15) so the current threat will come to nothing.

For more on persecution in Nigeria, please visit the Nigeria Country Report.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christians are equipped with audio bibles to distribute to their persecutors. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their Masters and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, Medical Fund, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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