(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
Video: Will the Violence Against Christians Never End?
View this video to learn more about the ongoing violence in Nigeria.

Rev. Yohanna Shuaibu was the pastor of the New Life for All Nation Church in the Nigerian village of Masu, located in Kano State. He also served as the local chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria. After being attacked on September 22nd by an angry mob, described as "irate Muslim youths," the church leader succumbed to his injuries the following day.

The conflict began after a young man in the area by the name of Sabo had left Islam. On September 21st, Sabo, who was neither attending a church nor a mosque, got into an argument and ended up killing his brother's wife. Even though he subsequently turned himself in for police custody, the expression of differing opinions among local Muslims quickly turned violent.

Already angry because of the growth of the church in the area, a rumour began to spread among Muslim villagers that Sabo had become a Christian, and that Rev. Yohanna was responsible for converting him. The villagers, who were enraged that Sabo had escaped vigilante justice, also learned that the pastor may have encouraged the young man to surrender himself to the police.

As tension mounted in Masu village, Rev. Yohanna was advised to leave the area with his family. After spending the night in the neighbouring village of Biri, the pastor returned the next day to evacuate students from a Christian school he helped to establish. Believing that the hostilities had subsided, his family returned to the community.

That night, a Muslim mob descended on the Christian leader's home. Although his wife and children managed to escape to safety, Rev. Yohanna himself suffered multiple machete blows. When police were alerted of the incident, the wounded pastor was rushed to hospital where he died the next day. Later that evening, the mob continued their attack, destroying the Christian family's home, the building of the church, as well as the Christian school.

Rev. Yohanna, a prominent figure in the community, is described as a "peace-loving Christian community leader." Along with coordinating over 100 churches, he helped to raise funds for the establishment of a school and the drilling of wells which are now providing clean water in areas where government-provided water was previously unavailable – including a local mosque.

Greg Musselman, Minister-at-Large for The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, recently spoke with Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Church Winning All. In the interview, they discussed the situation in Nigeria, including the rise of persecution that has taken place over recent years. To view the interview, go to this page.

Prayerfully remember Rev. Yohanna's wife and children in their time of grief, asking the Lord to fill them with His comfort and strength. In fact, please pray for all the Christians in the area who are now dealing with the loss of their dear friend, brother-in-Christ, and esteemed church leader. May God mightily intervene in the lives of those responsible for this horrific crime, replacing their anger towards the church with a deep longing for spiritual truth and peace. Also pray for the continued growth of the Gospel in Masu village, and other areas throughout Nigeria, so that the light of Christ can draw many more across this troubled nation to salvation in Him.

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.

end

Select a Region

Nigeria News

  • Dozens Kidnapped from Two Church Services
    A church service in Nigeria
    A Nigerian church service.
    Photo: Flickr / SIM USA (cc)

    Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church in Suleja, Niger State, in the early morning of September 17th. Several of the church members who had gathered for an all-night prayer vigil were kidnapped, along with the pastor.