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Mass funeral in Nigeria - Photo: VOMC

For several years, suffering has been a way of life for Christians in Nigeria. In 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination into this troubling situation which was formerly caused by the violence of Boko Haram militants. Thousands of lives have been lost throughout the years that followed, along with the destruction of numerous homes and churches, and the abduction of hundreds of innocent victims -- including teen Leah Sharibu who was taken captive in February 2018 and is still missing to date.

As horrific as the crimes perpetrated by Boko Haram have been, this terrorist group has been eclipsed in recent years by Fulani militia groups. While the exact death toll is unknown, Christian leaders claim that over 6,000 believers have been maimed or killed -- many of them vulnerable children, women and the aged. Open Doors refers to the attacks as a "religious cleansing"; in other words, an attempt to eradicate Christianity from the region. Others refer to it as genocide.

On June 15th, the United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief released a report titled, Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide? The document outlines the fact that thousands of innocent lives have been lost and multiple homes destroyed, concerns that have prompted the organization to call on the involvement of the international community. This call includes providing humanitarian assistance for those who are suffering, a response from the international community, and proactive action taken by the Nigerian government. To view the report, click here. British representatives have also taken their concerns to the ICC earlier this year, asking for further investigation.

The response of the Nigerian government to allegations referencing its passivity over the horrendous atrocities committed by the country's militants has been dismissive. President Muhammadu Buhari's spokesperson refers to a "misleading campaign" with "false allegations of persecution of Christians." Such an apathetic response leads to another concern, questioning potential bias on the part of the president, the son of a Fulani chief. For more information on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, go to our country report.

Intercede for Nigeria's Christians who are facing these ongoing campaigns of violence from various opposing sources. Pray that the government will act responsibly on behalf of these innocent victims by making efforts to halt the alarming number of casualties, rampages of destruction, and the resulting grief and suffering. May action from the international community serve as an impetus to bring about positive change and, therefore, a brighter future for all Nigerians.

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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