Nigeria is presently passing through one of her most difficult times in history. The church is facing an existential threat from islamists with a clear agenda to overrun the entire nation.
Unfortunately, there is a conspiracy of silence by the international media concerning the atrocities taking place in Nigeria (similar to what happened in 1994 before the genocide in Rwanda). In an opinion piece on The Wall Street Journal of 20th December, 2019, Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote: “A slow-motion war is under way in Africa’s most populous country. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. And the world has hardly noticed.”
In recent years, Nigeria has been consistently ranked among the top five nations on the Global Terrorism Index. Of the four deadliest terrorist groups in the world, three operate in Nigeria: Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, an offshoot of ISIS; Boko Haram; and Fulani Herdsmen (militants). In Nigeria, the three groups are united in their goal to exterminate Christians especially in Northern Nigeria and ultimately make Nigeria an Islamic nation. They seem to have the will and wherewithal to accomplish their goal unless the Lord stops them.
In the past, they were restrained by government’s honest prosecution of the war against terrorism. But in the last five years, a new government, led by people who have been accused of being sympathetic to the Islamic agenda, has been unsuccessful in stemming the rampage of the terrorist groups. Curiously, almost the entire military and security agencies of Nigeria are under the control of devout Muslims (mostly Fulanis), some of whom have been accused of aiding and abetting the terrorists. A respected former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has openly accused the government of having a “fulanisation and islamisation agenda.”
The well-known historian and theologian, Professor Philip Jenkins, in his book entitled, The Next Christendom, aptly stated that: “At least, 45% of Nigerians are currently Christians, some 72 million people. But how will the number change in future decades? No church or religion has a guaranteed market share in any country. It is quite possible to imagine a scenario in which the proportion of the Nigerian Christians could fall as low as 10% in the event of persecution or a successful jihad by the nation’s Muslims. The figure could rise higher if a sweeping Christian revival were to occur.” The activities of the terrorists and the policies of the government are tending towards the former. The only acceptable option for the church in Nigeria is revival, that is why we must pray.
See Obianuju Ekeocha's emotive video pleading for prayer and action on this serious situation in Northern Nigeria. It contains graphic images of the Kukum Daji massacre aftermath that took place in July 2020:
The following prayer points are only a guide. May the Lord bring us to the depth of prayers that would stem this rising tide of violence in Nigeria.
1. TERRORIST GROUPS. ISWAP, Boko Haram, and Fulani Herdsmen are ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th on the Global Terrorism Index. The Nigerian government does not still consider militant Fulani Herdsmen a terrorist group. This has enabled them to continue with their mayhem against Christian communities while the security officers look the other way. The activities of the herdsmen now extend to virtually every part of the country. There are speculations that it is a modern form of jihad. Pray that God would stir up a national and international outcry and action against these groups.
2. PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN THE NORTH. Pray that God would strengthen the Christians in the north. Many pastors and their members have been murdered by Islamic fundamentalists. Sometimes, these executions are carried out in the community square before children and other onlookers to inflict further pain on those who survive. Many of these Believers have been traumatised and scared for life. Pray for God to heal their emotions and strengthen their faith.
3. ECONOMIC JIHAD. There is an ‘economic jihad’ that is being waged against non-Muslims, especially Christians. Christians are losing their jobs and are being replaced by Muslims; Christian farm lands are either expropriated by state governments in the North or forcefully taken over by Fulani herders. Pray for God to comfort and provide for His people in their sufferings.
Download the full Nigeria Prayer Guide with 16 different prayer pointers from the IPC Website
Pastor Austen Ukachi – IPC West Africa Director