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Nigeria: Archbishop’s mediation in violent region

In January Archbishop Justin Welby tweeted his sadness about the killings and displacements in Nigeria. Writing to the country’s primate, Nicholas Okoh, he offered to contribute towards negotiating peace. He has now repeated that offer, saying, ‘My condolences go to those who have lost loved ones and property. I urge the authorities to seek for ways to ameliorate their sufferings and losses. I call on all people of goodwill to continue to pray for the peace of Nigeria. I mourn with this great country and stand with them in prayer. I once again exhort President Buhari and other authorities, civil and religious, national and international, to build a coalition to end this violence immediately.’ Since January 175,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Benue State and are now living in refugee camps.

Pray: for an end to the conflict between the nomadic herdsmen and the farmers who cultivate the land for crops. (Matthew 5:9)

More: www.anglicannews.org/news/2018/03/archbishop-of-canterbury-offers-to-contribute-to-peace-negotiations-in-violence-hit-nigeria.aspx

Nigeria: Christian girl defies Boko Haram

Last week we praised God for the release of 104 Dapchi school girls by Boko Haram. Five of the 110 girls died and were buried in the bush. What happened to the other girl? Her name is Leah Sharibu, and she defied Boko Haram by refusing to renounce her Christian faith! She is still in captivity. Her father, Nathan Sharibu, said, ‘They gave her the option of converting in order to be released, but she said she will never become a Muslim. I am very sad, but I'm also praising God because my daughter did not renounce Christ.’ Leah sent a message asking her family ‘to pray for the will of God to be done in my life’. What bravery, what faith, what a testimony to the world! One lone Christian girl among 110 defies the abominable Boko Haram. What will happen to her? President Buhari has been asked to ‘uphold the tenets and principles of the Nigerian constitution’. We must pray!

Pray: for Leah to feel God’s comfort and protection, and for Him to destroy Boko Haram by His power. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

More: win1040.com/post.php?id=3354&cat=EPA

Global: Cambridge Analytica

Recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica (CA) tactics to influence elections using data from Facebook accounts and its role in UK and US election votes are the tip of an iceberg. CA has been linked to elections in Czech Republic, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Ukraine. This is a truly worldwide phenomenon. New technologies can be a double-edged sword. Social media has transformed how the public call out the corrupt and demand change. But what happens when the data these tools generate about their users is used as part of a murky process to influence elections? Is this corruption? The now-suspended CEO of CA has said that some emails between the company and its clients automatically self-destruct, leaving no electronic paper trail for investigators looking for election fraud allegations. Also identities of companies working on elections were hidden, presumably through shell companies. ‘No one even knew they were there,’ said another CA executive of an operation in Eastern Europe. See also

Pray: for loopholes in countries’ election processes to be discovered and closed. (Psalm 37:10,11)

More: voices.transparency.org/the-week-in-corruption-23-march-2018-d9903b21b6cd

Nigeria: many girls released

According to an ongoing headcount, 100 of the school girls abducted by militants from their boarding school in Dapchi on 19 February were ‘dropped off’ at about 7:30 am on 21 March. Their release was unconditional. ‘Dapchi is full of joy,’ said Mohammed Mdada. He said the militants apologised to some of the girls’ parents in their language, Kanuri, and shook their hands before driving off. They said that if they had known the girls were Muslim they wouldn’t have abducted them. Some reports say that Christian girls had not been released. Amnesty International said four girls are still missing. The terrorists warned the girls to stay away from school, adding that if they returned and found any girls in school they’d abduct them again and never give them back. Although parents are rejoicing, it can be seen that the girls have suffered and are in a poor state.

Praise: God for the girls’ release, but continue to pray for the release of all the Chibok and Dapchi girls still in captivity. May they have complete mental, spiritual, and physical recovery. (Psalm 10:12)

More: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/boko-haram-returns-some-of-the-girls-it-kidnapped-last-month

Nigeria: more schoolgirls abducted

On 25 February, Nigeria's information minister had a meeting with the family members of 110 girls who were abducted a week earlier. The frustrated families had criticised the government for taking so long to acknowledge the abduction. They presented the minister with a list of names of the missing girls, and complained that officials were being slow to respond. The girls’ fate is not known, but witnesses said the Islamic extremists specifically asked where the girls’ school was located. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing young women taken away at gunpoint. Air Force spokesman Olatokunbo Adesanya said that efforts to locate the girls are being conducted in close liaison with other security forces. It is feared the girls will become brides for Boko Haram extremists. Nigeria's president said no effort will be spared to locate them.

Pray: for the safe return of the 110, and the remaining 100+ Chibok girls abducted in 2014. (Psalm 103:5a)

More: www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/nigeria-parents-release-names-of-105-missing-girls-after-boko-haram-attack/article38105040/

Nigeria: 13 dead in Christian-Muslim clash

At least 13 people were killed on 26 February in clashes between Christians and Muslims in Kasuwan Magani community in Kaduna state, central Nigeria. Many houses and shops were burnt down. Twenty suspects have been arrested and extra police have been put on the streets to try to quell the violence. ‘The place is currently calm. I was in the village yesterday to implore the community and traditional leaders to direct the warring youths to sheath their swords,’ said the state police commissioner. ‘We don't want to jump to conclusions as to what led to the mayhem. Speculation was that some Christian boys were unhappy that their girls are befriending Muslim boys.’ Local reports indicate the death toll is higher than the police have reported.

Pray: for peace to reign in Kaduna state, and for astute security investigators to discover the cause of the crisis and exactly who was involved. (Psalm 103:6)

More: www.premier.org.uk/News/World/13-dead-in-Christian-Muslim-clash-in-Nigeria

Post-Brexit trade opportunities

An event designed for entrepreneurs and business owners looking for ways to grow and export their products into the UK market is to be held on 6 March. The workshop is aimed at people who want to learn strategies and practical skills so that they can plan for export for future trade in the United Kingdom. This particular event is targeting Nigerians, but it is recognised that similar events need to be organised elsewhere and be available to businesses wanting overseas trading opportunities with the UK post-Brexit. Pray for this type of event to be multiplied across the nations, to enable men and women in manufacturing, information technology, and other enterprises to enter new UK markets.

Pray: for God to prompt business owners who have not previously considered trading in the UK to begin to gauge their capacity to enable them to trade in a UK marketplace. (Genesis 34:10)

More: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-brexit-opportunity-for-nigerian-export-trade-tickets-42725514163

Nigeria: urgent call to prayer

A respected Lagos church leader reports that worshippers in their church in Rivers State were gruesomely murdered by heartless cultists. 15+ people, including women and children, were cut down in a hail of bullets. The following day Fulani herdsmen invaded villages, killed an estimated 50+, and destroyed houses and properties. The government appears powerless, and has been accused of being impervious to people’s sufferings. The security agencies seem so desensitised that you wonder if they still value human lives. But we cannot fold our hands and let this continue, it is time to rise as intercessors and pray. For suggested prayer points to guide your prayers for Nigeria please click the ‘More’ button.

Pray: for God to comfort and encourage families who have lost loved ones in the carnage. (Psalm 23:4)

More: hesalivechapel.org/prayers-for-the-nation/

Nigeria: urgent call to prayer

The Christian Association of Nigeria has urged the government to declare the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) a terrorist organisation. Stating they should be prosecuted for genocide against the Christian minorities, Rev Dr Musa Asake said, ‘We make bold to say that Nigeria’s security system has become dysfunctional. This is shown by the inability of the various security arms to wrestle to the ground those threatening the existence of Christians and other innocent citizens in Nigeria. They have not produced an efficient system to overwhelm the resurgence of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen who are prowling villages, shooting and killing innocent Christians.’ Asake said MACBAN is not a business group; it combines bloodshed with enterprise, and the Fulani herdsmen are clearly associated with it. For the full press report see

Pray: for intelligence units to discover and eliminate the sources of ammunition to the Fulani, and for permanent peace to be restored to troubled areas by honourable policing. (Psalm 20:4, The Passion translation)

More: leadership.ng/2018/01/17/can-urges-fg-proscribe-miyetti-allah/

Nigeria: environmental threat to families

Caught in a Niger Delta downpour, a woman runs for shelter. The plastic bottles of homemade petrol she was selling are beaten off their wooden perch by the heavy rain. The smell of petrol rises from the ground and hangs in the air before being washed down a lane past small concrete houses. There is little research into human health issues from exposure to oil spills on land. Oil seeps into the soil, the air and the water table, releasing harmful chemicals like benzene and toluene. Benzene is a poison, while toluene can cause kidney and liver damage. ‘Our farming area is always deep with oil, when you go there you can recognise the odour,’ says Chief Bira Saturday. He has suffered from asthma since a spill. ‘The doctor said it was the odour of this oil that we are breathing that damaged the baby in my womb’, his wife added.

Pray: for more money to be released by governments and oil giants into research to eliminate the hundreds of oil spills in Nigeria every year and their devastating effects. (Psalm 37:27)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42168902

Global: attacks, bombings, and beheadings

2017 saw a dramatic rise of terror attacks by nomadic Fulani Islamic herdsmen in Nigeria, who are targeting Christians and trying to drive them out of the territory they claim. Pray for God to help Nigerian political leaders to bring religious hatred to an end, and for His protection and strengthening of Bishop Joseph Bagobiri. IS has been increasingly turning its focus toward Egypt, issuing a chilling warning that ‘a river of blood’ for Christians is coming. Pray that the Christians will be strengthened as they refuse to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ, and that the government will do more to protect them. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terror group, has been attacking Christians and security forces in neighbouring Kenya for years. They are now routinely beheading anyone suspected of being Christian. After IS attacked a church in Pakistan on 17 December, the country is on heightened alert.

Pray: for God to help the bereaved and the survivors to rebuild their lives in the coming year. (Matthew 5:4)

More: www.christianpost.com/news/6-horrific-terror-attacks-church-bombings-beheadings-of-christians-in-2017-211727/

Global: a lost childhood in conflict zones

UNICEF has stated, ‘Children are under attack on a shocking scale in conflicts around the world. No safe places are left for children as they are targeted in their homes, schools and playgrounds.’ Last year many children came under attack in conflict zones, with blatant disregard of international laws designed to protect the most vulnerable. They were frontline targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed, and recruited to fight. Rape, forced marriage, abduction, and enslavement were standard tactics. Sometimes children abducted by extremist groups experience abuse yet again upon release when they are detained by security forces. Millions more children are suffering malnutrition, disease and trauma as access to food, water, sanitation and health are denied, damaged or destroyed in the fighting.

Pray: for child cruelty to end in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DRC, Nigeria, Cameroon, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Ukraine. (Mark 9:37)

More: www.unicef.org/media/media_102357.html

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