|Sources of Persecution||Islamic Oppression|
|Leader||President Muhammadu Buhari|
Nigeria: Violent Attacks On Christians.
There is a large Christian presence in Nigeria, but that doesn't mean being a believer is easy. Nigeria can almost be split in two. Most people who live in the north are Muslim, while the majority in the south are Christian. Despite having freedom of religion, 12 northern States are governed by Sharia (Islamic) law. The Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, continues to target and attack Christians. Violent land disputes by Muslim Hausa Fulani herdsmen has resulted in the deaths of thousands. Many people have been displaced or murdered and churches destroyed.
Despite military efforts, Boko Haram continue to be a threat. A large number of Christians have been internally displaced due to Boko Haram. They have experienced discrimination from state authorities in relief efforts, being denied access to food and water.
Second Class Citizens.
Christians in the north experience the worst persecution. Under Sharia law they are considered second class citizens and are easily identifiable. Persecution has forced some believers to dress as Muslims and hide their beliefs. Young people have been stopped from entering Secondary School and University. Access to health clinics, clean water and some roads have all been denied in the past. Everyday travel for women can also be a risk.
Nigeria has been labelled as one of the most corrupt nations in Africa. It also has the largest population in Africa. Unemployment is high and many young people live in poverty. A succession of corrupt governments have created issues that are only now being resolved. However, religious tensions remain high.
Elijah* (*name change for security purposes) is a pastor from Adamawa state, Northern Nigeria, the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency. He lost his brother and a few uncles in the insurgency and his house was looted on two occasions. “It made me cry every time I heard what happened in the villages. Our faith is based upon forgiveness, as we learn from the Word of God. God forgives us because we have sinned against him. So we must apply that in our lives. That is what I preach... They raided everything that was in my house, they looted it... they broke into my house and made off with all my things. So, it is not easy to forgive, but we have to do that."
Pray for Christians in violent areas, that they will seek peace and forgiveness over violence.
Pray that President Buhari will have wisdom and discernment, especially on matters of religion.
Pray that believers will hold onto Jesus, and not deny their faith despite extreme persecution.