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Militant men holding firearms
Photo: Voice of America

Armed militants invaded the village of Dantsauri in Katsina State, northern Nigeria, on January 15th. During the raid, Pastor Haruna, who serves as the leader of the local New Life for All Church, was shot and injured. As many as 25 Christians were then kidnapped but, according to subsequent news reports, most of them were able to escape.

At last report, police confirmed that five women are still being held captive by the militants. These women, who range in age from 13 to 49, were captured while they were on their way to the Sunday church service. One report suggests that two young children may have been with the women during the abduction.

While police were called to the village, by the time they arrived, the attackers had already escaped with their victims. The authorities are continuing to search for those responsible. At the time of publishing this Persecution & Prayer Alert report, there has been no contact with the kidnappers.

Over the years, many innocent civilians residing within the nation of Nigeria have been subjected to extreme violence from armed insurgents. In many cases, Christians were specifically targeted by fellow Nigerians who adhere to militant Islamic viewpoints. In the 2023 World Watch List, which was recently released by Open Doors, it is noted that violence against Christians is more extreme in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world.

Out of the 5,623 Christians documented to have been killed for their faith worldwide in 2022, 5,014 of these slayings took place in Nigeria. For more reports addressing the violence perpetrated against Nigeria's Christians, go to our country report.

In the aftermath of this recent attack, please pray that the Lord will administer divine healing and strength to Pastor Haruna, resulting in the full recovery of this faithful church leader. Also prayerfully remember the group of kidnapped Christian women and children remaining in captivity. May each one of these abducted victims experience God's protection – as well as greatly needed comfort, hope and courage – while awaiting release or rescue from their captors. Furthermore, please pray on behalf of the victims' concerned families, joining in their heartfelt intercessory pleas for the hopeful safe return of their abducted loved ones.

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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