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Nigeria is geographically divided along religious lines, with a Muslim-dominated north and a majority-Christian south. There are more than 80 million professing Christians in Africa’s most populous nation, the fruit of both pioneer mission work and freed slaves who returned to the continent from Europe with the gospel following the 1833 abolition of slavery in England. Foreign missionary activity in the north has declined significantly since 2008 as a result of the emergence of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Based in the north, Boko Haram is affiliated with al-Qaida and has also aligned itself with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). Although Boko Haram has weakened somewhat in the northeast, it still carries out devastating attacks in the Christian communities and on army units in the region. Toward the end of 2019, the Islamists began stopping commercial vehicles and removing Christians for execution and abduction. Boko Haram is also reportedly backing ongoing attacks on Christian villages by Islamic Fulani militia, who have concentrated their attacks in the central region of Nigeria. Terrorist groups and other Muslims in the north want to drive Christians out of the region and continue their push to create a separate Islamist nation governed by Islamic Sharia law.
51 percent of Nigerians are Christians, including 26 percent evangelical. The nation is divided between Christians and Sunni Muslims, with most Christians in the south and most Muslims in the north.
The Boko Haram Islamic extremist group and Fulani Islamic militants work together to attack Christians throughout northern Nigeria.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Nigeria:
Nearly all Christians in northeastern Nigeria have lost family members in attacks by Boko Haram or Fulani Islamic Fulani militants. Entire congregations have been displaced, and many pastors have been forced to leave the region. Being active in church looks much different than it did at the beginning of the 21st century. It now takes great courage and faith to openly worship and serve Christ. Thousands of Christians remain in camps designated for internally displaced people. With few schools able to function because of the violence, families are concerned about their children’s education. Life is a constant struggle, and in some places it is difficult for Christians to find food. Famine threatens farms in the north as a result of ongoing Islamist violence; Fulani Islamic militants kill farmers when they attempt to return to their farms. In addition, many villages and farmlands have been taken over by the Islamist militias.
Access To Bibles:
While Bibles are plentiful in the south, there is a great need for them in the north. Many Bibles have been lost in attacks and as people have been displaced. Most Christians in the north do not own their own Bible, and even if they were available, few in the north could afford them. Give Bibles
VOM supports widows who have lost their husbands in Islamist attacks, and trains and equips pastors in the north. We also provide study Bibles, New Testaments and Christian discipleship literature to believers. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry
- Pray that more Fulani will come to Christ through a new outreach in northeastern Nigeria.
- Pray for an end to kidnappings of school children in the northeast.
- Pray for believers in southern Kaduna who have been forced from their homes by Fulani Islamic militants.
- Pray that God will deliver Christians in Maiduguri state from the hands of Boko Haram mercenaries.
- Pray for Christians in Sagar, Adamawa state, who have been under attack from Boko Haram.