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Fr. Joseph Shekari - Photo: St. Monica Church
Rev. Joseph Danjuma Shekari
Photo: St. Monica's Catholic Church

On the night of February 6th, armed assailants entered the parish residence of St. Monica's Catholic Church in the Ikulu Pari Parish of Kaduna State. During the invasion, a kitchen chef named Sati Musa was killed; and the parish priest, Joseph Danjuma Shekari, was abducted – the latter incident presumably motivated by the perpetrators for the purpose of demanding ransom.

We are grateful to report that Rev. Joseph Shekari was safely released the next evening. The diocese thanked all who offered prayers on his behalf, yet has requested prayer for the family of the deceased chef. According to the Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, more than 18 Christian leaders have been abducted for ransom in the state over the past two years. To learn more about the suffering of Christians in Nigeria, and/or to review previously posted reports, go to our country report.

While we give thanks to the Lord that Rev. Shekari has been safely released, please join us in praying on behalf of Sati's family and friends who are grieving over their sudden loss. May God fill them with His comfort and peace during this time of mourning. Pray that a resolution will be found to the ongoing challenges in Nigeria, so peace can abound throughout the nation and all of Nigeria's Christians will be free to practise their faith without fear of attack or any other form of persecution.

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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