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On Friday, August 29, the Kano state government in northern Nigeria issued a directive making it compulsory for all girls attending schools run by the state government to wear the hijab Islamic headscarf, whether or not they are Muslim. Over one million Christians live in the state, which in June 2000 formally adopted strict Islamic or Sharia law but had previously hesitated to implement it. Changes were expected when Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who campaigned on a platform that he would rigorously implement Sharia, defeated the incumbent governor in April state elections.

Christians in the state are understandably upset over the directive. The directive only applies to school operated by the state government and not to private schools or schools run by the Nigerian Federal Government, which has openly criticized the formal adoption of Sharia law in the northern states.

However, as the World Evangelical Alliance notes, "Considering that the Kano state government has closed virtually all Kano's Christian schools, Christian families are not going to have much choice. Christian schools are closed in Kano on the grounds that they do not meet state mandated standards. The education standards, however, include the mandate that all schools (Christian schools included) must employ Islamic clerics to indoctrinate the children in Islam. Those schools that refuse are closed." (World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis, September 10).

Pray for the Christians of Kano state during this tense time. Pray that the concerns expressed by the Christians will not escalate into violence as it has on occasion in the past. Pray for the young women who will be subjected to this form of religious discrimination. Pray that the church in Kano state will glorify God by staying faithful to His teachings regardless of the uncertainties that they increasingly face.

Current Ministry Projects

Through a vast variety of projects, VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen Nigerian Christians who have experienced extreme forms of persecution. Christian widows receive trauma counselling to help them heal from the aftermath of tragically losing their husbands due to persecution-related attacks. These widows are also provided skills training so they can have a practical means of income to support their families. Children who have lost their parents and other relatives during incidents of persecution are provided a safe place in which to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered serious injuries perpetrated by militants affiliated with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Fulani groups. Discipleship and vocational training are being offered to Muslim-background believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically.

The ministry also gives persecuted Christians who are completing their master's degrees – and have a desire to share the Gospel in their communities – the opportunity to benefit as recipients of the Glenn Penner Scholarship Award. Another one of VOMC’s projects in Nigeria involves the distribution of food aid to persecuted Christians residing within Internal Displacement Persons' (IDP) camps. Through this distribution effort, displaced believers who have been forced to flee their homes and communities because of their faith not only receive daily sustenance but also the encouragement that’s needed to rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles (Distribution), Medical, 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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