(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu
Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu

A 25-year-old Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto state, Nigeria, was killed by a mob on May 12th after rumours spread that she had blasphemed against Mohammed on a WhatsApp group chat. The precise nature of her comments is unclear, but it appears that the problem started when Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu expressed exasperation at religious posts being shared by her classmates, asking that the others focus on issues related to their course work. Apparently, Deborah also rejected advances from one of the other students, who later made the blasphemy accusation.

According to media reports, a mob gathered and forcefully dragged Deborah from her residence. Once outside, she was beaten, stoned to death, and then her body was burned. A video of the attack was released on social media in which one young man can be heard proudly proclaiming: "I'm the one that killed her and set her ablaze. This is the matchstick I used in setting her on fire." The video earlier showed numerous students beating her and shouting "Allahu Akbar" while the young Christian pleaded for her life.

The two primary instigators of the attack, students Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy and disturbing the peace. Protesting their arrests, a mob of militants erupted into violence which resulted in fires being started, numerous businesses looted, and multiple church buildings damaged. The Sultan of Sokoto, who is considered the leader of Nigeria's Muslim community, condemned the killing and called for justice. However, his statement then led to demonstrations outside his palace, which police were forced to disperse. Response from political leaders has been minimal. For more information addressing our ongoing concerns for Christians in Nigeria, go to our country report.

Pray for peace and justice to take place in the aftermath of this horrific situation. May God's comforting presence be tangibly experienced by Deborah's friends, family members and fellow students during this time of mourning. Ask the Lord to powerfully minister by His Holy Spirit in this volatile area of Nigeria, touching the hearts of both Christians and Muslims so they will dwell together in harmony – all the while revealing His wonderful plan of eternal salvation to those who are in need spiritually. May our Nigerian Christian brothers and sisters continue to be testimonies of His love, forgiveness and hope to others around them.

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.

end

Select a Region

Nigeria News

  • Video Released Revealing Execution of Christians
    A group of people praying
    Nigerian believers praying together.
    Photo: VOMC

    On May 10th, a video was released by the Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" terrorist group. The video shows the execution of 20 Nigerian men, all believed to be affiliated with Christianity, along with a thr

    ...
  • College Student Killed for Alleged Blasphemy
    Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu
    Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu

    A 25-year-old Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto state, Nigeria, was killed by a mob on May 12th after rumours spread that she had blasphemed against Mohammed on a WhatsApp group chat. The precise nature of her comments is unclear, but it ap

    ...
  • Attacks Against Christians Expand to a New State
    Men with their faces covered, holding weapons
    Ask God to give believers wisdom and strength in the ongoing struggles they face due to terrorism.

    An explosion rocked a market in Isware, Nigeria, on April 19th, killing six people and injuring more than a dozen. In a statement issued the next day, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) clai

    ...