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One of many buildings destroyed in the ongoing violence in Nigeria. - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
Photo: World Watch Monitor

The violence against Christian communities in Nigeria continues unabated, resulting in dozens of deaths this February and March. As authorities seek how to effectively deal with the attacks, a West African court has ruled that, at least in one instance during 2016, Nigeria failed in its duty to protect citizens.

Danger comes from multiple directions. The Boko Haram terrorist group continues to oppress, though the number of incidents seems to be on the decline due to concerted pressure from various countries throughout West Africa. On March 14th, insurgents attacked the village of Ngurhlavu in Borno State. While most villagers safely escaped into the bush, six homes and a church were destroyed. One church member, Avi Lassa, was killed after stepping on an improvised explosive device the perpetrators had left behind. Two sisters, Stella and Plungwa Ibrahim, were also abducted.

The most devastating violence in recent months has been from the Fulani herdsmen. While some of their opposition comes from what they perceive as government imposition against their nomadic lifestyle, much of the resulting violence is targeted against Christians.

Kaduna State has been the centre for much of the recent opposition. In mid-February, more than 130 were killed. Since then, over 100 additional deaths were reported to have taken place within the state and hundreds of homes have been burned.

March 4th also brought an attack in Benue State, where more than 20 people were killed by gun or machete. Those who survived have been scattered while seeking safety. Back in 2016, Benue State was the setting of a horrific attack which has since resulted in international condemnation against the Nigerian authorities for their lack of response. The court of the Economic Community of West African States ruled this January that the Nigerian government failed to provide necessary protection for their citizens against attacks in Agatu by Fulani herdsmen. The previous surge of attacks, which began late February 2016, resulted in as many as 500 fatalities.

Prayerfully lift up the people of rural Nigeria who are facing this ongoing violence. Pray that the governing officials and police presiding over these areas will take necessary action to stop the violence and resolve the grievances of the Fulani. Pray for the many Nigerians who are now grieving the loss of loved ones, as well as those facing financial devastation due to their homes having been destroyed. Also remember the abducted victims presently in captivity, such as the two mentioned sisters, as well as Leah Sharibu, in addition to the more than 100 students still missing after the 2014 attack on the Chibok school.

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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Nigeria News

  • Multiple Attacks on Christian Villages
    Rubble of a home
    A burned home in Kagoro, Kaduna State.
    Photo: Gideon Agwom Mutum via Morning Star News

    The Nigerian state of Kaduna experienced multiple attacks on predominantly Christian villages between March 17th and March 24th. Due to the nature of these recent attacks, the exact number of victims is not yet cl

    ...