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Hundreds of Christians were gathered to celebrate Pentecost Sunday at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Nigeria, on June 5th when the service was disrupted by gunshots and explosions. As worshippers attempted to flee the building, gunmen shot them down, both inside and outside the building. When the bloodshed was complete, dozens lay dead – including children. Surviving victims were rushed to the hospital with injuries. It is believed that the number of fatalities could reach as high as 100.

Those who were unable to escape the building hid in silence while gunmen searched for remaining worshippers. The attack continued for more than 20 minutes before the assailants fled in a stolen car. The identities and motives of the perpetrators are unclear, as no group has claimed responsibility, though some reports have suggested that Fulani herdsmen may be to blame. Witnesses from outside the church building claim that four men were seen entering and leaving the facility around the time of the attack.

The violence was unexpected, since the town of Owo is in the southwestern state of Ondo – an area of Nigeria generally left free from the carnage typically experienced in other parts of the country. Politicians have widely condemned the attack. The country's vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, termed it "inconceivable wickedness," while the state governor, Rotimi Ageredolu, described it as "vile and satanic."

Recently, Greg Musselman from The Voice of the Martyrs Canada spoke with human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe about the ongoing violence inflicted on Christians in Nigeria. To view this informative interview, go to VOMCanada.com/video/ogebe.

Prayerfully lift up all of the believers who have been affected by this recent attack – including families grieving over the loss of their loved ones, surviving injured victims, as well as those who managed to escape. Pray that the "God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3) will minister greatly needed care and emotional healing to each one as they recover from the trauma. May the perpetrators responsible for this attack be held accountable. More importantly, may they come to realize their need for the forgiveness and grace made available to them through Jesus Christ. Additionally, pray that Nigeria's governing authorities will actively pursue justice on behalf of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the country.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christians are equipped with audio bibles to distribute to their persecutors. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their Masters and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, Medical Fund, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

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)

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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Nigeria News

  • Video Released Revealing Execution of Christians
    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 thr