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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 threatening statement from the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) declaring that the slaying is intended as a warning to Christians around the world. The spokesperson in the video also states that the killing was in retaliation for the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the former leader of the Islamic State who died during a raid committed in Syria on February 3rd by American special forces.

The time and location of the execution is unknown, and Nigerian authorities have not yet commented on the video. However, its authenticity was confirmed by the SITE Intelligence Group, an American-based non-governmental agency which tracks terrorist activities online.

In response to the video, Jo Newhouse, a spokesperson for Open Doors, lamented, "There are no words to describe the horror and heartbreak that the families of these men must be going through." She further commented: "While ISWAP intends to sow fear with these videos, Christians around the world should be in awe of the testimony of these men who, to the best of our knowledge, held on to their faith even in the face of execution."

While little is known about the specifics of these slain men, pray that 'the God who knows all' will encourage, comfort and strengthen everyone who has been grievously impacted by this act of evil. Also pray that justice will prevail and that those responsible for sowing terror in Nigeria would come to understand the seriousness of their destructive ways, sincerely repent before God, and fully surrender their lives to Christ. Despite the seemingly non-stop bloodshed, may the patient endurance of Christians throughout Nigeria be greatly rewarded, especially those whose lives have been directly affected by the violence.

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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