Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Amidst many tense situations around the world, we are urgently needing to call our friends across the global church to a dedicated time of breakthrough prayer for Nigeria.
Curfews are being imposed across the country following two weeks of protests and disorder focused against police brutality. It is reported that 12 protestors were killed by soldiers in Lagos on Tuesday.
IPC’s West Africa Director, Austen Ukachi is a Senior Pastor based in Lagos, Nigeria. He has prepared the following briefing and prayer points.
Please let’s act on this in Nigeria’s time of need, and share this with our contacts and fellow networks.
Call to Pray for Nigeria
HOW IT BEGAN
On Friday, 9 October 2020, a peaceful protest by a handful of youths in Lagos State, Nigeria under the hashtag ENDSARS commenced. This demonstration was triggered by a viral video on the social media showing SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) Police officers shooting a young Nigerian in front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli, Delta State.
SARS was an arm of the Nigerian Police formed in 1992 to tackle rising cases of armed robbery and violent crime in Nigeria. However, over time, SARS lost its way and adopted the ‘Gestapo style’ in their operation, hounding mostly innocent youths into detention and causing the death of some of them. Unfortunately, many Nigerians began to perceive SARS as worse than the problem it was created to solve.
The protest, therefore, gave vent to the anger and discontent that had built up in the youths through the years. The demonstrations did not appear as one that was pre-planned but a response from the younger generation who trooped out in different cities as events developed. It was a demonstration that was technology-driven and spread over the Nation and beyond in a few days.
Prayer walks were happening simultaneously with the protests. Young Christian men and women mobilised themselves to join in the protests but with the intention to pray for Nigeria. Church leaders and major denominations also participated in this aspect of the events.
The Nigerian Government responded by disbanding SARS and hastily setting up a new unit to be known as SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team. The youths were not satisfied with this measure especially as they realised that this would basically mean recycling the same personnel from SARS to SWAT without addressing the fundamental issues in their protest, namely the prosecution of all those who were indicted for crime.
As the protests continued, violence began to creep in. Hoodlums allegedly sponsored by the Government and other interest groups began to attack the peaceful demonstrators. The Nigerian Military also announced a nation-wide exercise code-named Operation Crocodile Smile to coincide with the demonstrations. Many people saw this as a ploy by Government to use force to stop the protests. That is why soldiers have been accused to be responsible for the killing of several protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, on 20TH October 2020. Though this has been denied by the Nigerian Military but video evidence appear to confirm the allegation.
From that moment, the protests turned violent, irate youths went on the loose, burning and destroying government properties; hoodlums also began to loot shops and attack innocent citizens. The chaos has led several state governments in Nigeria to impose 24-hour curfew to curtail the rampage of the youths.
Notwithstanding what has happened and is developing, there is a paradigm shift in Nigeria and we believe that things cannot remain the same again.
NEED TO INTENSIFY PRAYERS
In the light of the above, the Church of God ought at this stage to engage in ceaseless prayers and intercession at family levels, churches and online platforms.
Nigeria is desperately in need of prayers from the global Church. Please join us to pray along the following lines:
- Thank the Lord that we are beginning to see the fulfilment of some of the things He had spoken in the past concerning Nigeria. Declare Isaiah 25:9
- Declare Jeremiah 3:23 and affirm our faith and confidence in the Lord alone.
- Bring repentance over the atrocities and wickedness perpetrated by SARS over the years; the injustices, corruption, maladministration that has subjected the younger generation to the dehumanization and under-utilization of their God given talents and skills.
- Bring repentance over the excessive bloodletting in Nigeria, especially the killing of unarmed youths at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday 20 October 2020.
- Declare that the Lord would have His way in what is happening presently. Isaiah 46:10; Acts 15:18
- May God raise up credible voices and leaders amongst the youths, locally and internationally, who will coordinate and guide them through this generational shift.
- Pray that the eyes of our leaders will be open, that they make decisions that would honour God and that will free the next generation
- Resist the wicked one and declare that neither Satan nor the Nigerian Government would be able to abort what God has begun to do in Nigeria. Isaiah 14:26-27; Job 5:12.
- Pray that this would not be like the “Arab Spring” which turned out to be “Arab Winter!”
- Pray for God to restrain violence and to protect all peoples living in Nigeria who are suffering uncertainty and fear.
- Pray against the spirits responsible for bloodletting in Nigeria. Let us decree that there shall be no further loss of innocent lives in Nigeria through this crisis.
- Pray for the soldiers and Police officers charged with ensuring peace and security. May the Spirit of God overshadow them and ensure they do their jobs with the fear of God.
- Pray that God would use this crisis to lead entire cities and communities to Christ.
- Pray that Christians would be unified behind one thing - the gospel of Jesus Christ; that they would not succumb to the trick of the enemy to factionalise the Body of Christ
- Pray against the attempt to give the protests a tribal colouration and thereby pitching one tribe against another.
- Pray that this ongoing development will lead to revival in Nigeria, a great move of God among the youths, in the family, Church, corporate world, Governance and in all spheres of the society. Remind God of His promise in Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 11:6-9.
Austen Ukachi – West Africa Director
International Prayer Connect