Nigeria - Believers praying and worshipping - Photo: VOMC

Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is sharply divided along religious lines with a Muslim-dominated north and a majority-Christian south. There are more than 80 million professing Christians in Africa's most populous nation, the fruit of both pioneer mission work and the return of freed slaves who carried the Gospel with them to the African continent following the abolition of slavery in England during 1833. Foreign missionary activity in the Muslim majority north has declined significantly over the past ten years as a result of the emergence of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. Although the militants appear to have weakened in the northeast, it is believed they are the source of increasing attacks on Christian villages by a group of militant Fulani herdsmen, a tribe known for its adherence to strict Islam.

Life for Christians:

Nearly all Christians in northeastern Nigeria have lost family members due to the violence perpetrated by the terrorist groups. Entire congregations have been displaced, and many pastors have been forced to leave the region. Being active in the church looks much different than it did 15 years ago. Today, it takes great courage and faith to openly worship and serve Christ. Thousands of Christians remain in camps designated for internally displaced people. With few schools able to operate because of the violence, families are concerned about their children's education. Life is a constant struggle and, in some places, it's even difficult to find food.

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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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.