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Police tape with text,

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • More Chibok School Hostages Freed!
    A large number of captive girls gathered in front of Boko Haram flags
    Girls abducted from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, during 2014.
    Photo: Screenshot

    Eight years ago, over 200 girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, and held hostage by Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group that is fiercely opposed to what they define as "Western education." Over

  • Attacks Resulting in Fatalities and Kidnappings
    Nun, facing away, walking accross a porch

    More than 20 Christians lost their lives in attacks that took place recently in Nigeria's Taraba State during the first half of August. In one such incident, the St. Agnes Catholic Church in the village of Dinya was raided on August 14th. At the time of the attack, a spiritual teacher working for th

  • Gunmen Kill Pastor's Sons and Abduct Daughter
    Sunset with the words, ''Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

    Gunmen broke into the home of Pastor Daniel Umaru in Njairi, Adamawa State, during the early morning hours of July 6th. The results of the attack were devastating to the family. While Pastor Daniel survived the gunshot wound, his two sons were killed during the attack, and his 13-year-old daughter,