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A group of women in a church.
Christian women in Nigeria.
Photo: VOMC

In May, Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu was killed by a mob after rumours spread that she had blasphemed against the Islamic prophet Mohammed during a WhatsApp group chat. To read a report on the incident, see this page.

Other Nigerian Christians were understandably shaken by the news of this murder. One woman, Rhoda Ya'u Jatau, received a WhatsApp message condemning Deborah's death and proceeded to share that message with others. A group of Muslims who saw Rhoda's post accused her of committing blasphemy as well, and thereby sought to kill her. Security agents arrested Rhoda on May 20th, and the accused believer has been incarcerated ever since.

According to her lawyer, Rhoda has been accused of inciting public disturbance, exciting contempt of religious creed, and cyberstalking. Efforts to secure bail have been thwarted due to interference from governing authorities and opposing Islamic groups.

Today, seven months after her arrest, Rhoda remains incarcerated while awaiting trial. Her husband, Ya'u Adamu, has been banned from visiting her. In fact, Ya'u, along with their five children, have been forced to relocate to another city for their safety. In an effort to gain his wife's release, Ya'u has been forced to sell all of his belongings in order to finance the required legal assistance.

Prayerfully remember Rhoda, along with her husband and children, as they continue to endure this lengthy ordeal – asking the Lord to provide protection for each member of this victimized family and all those assisting them. Pray that He will mightily intervene in Rhoda's case, using the international advocacy of other countries to ensure justice is being upheld on her behalf and that of others in Nigeria who are likewise undergoing persecution for their Christian faith.

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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