Nigerian Christians Defy Fear of Bloodshed and Continue Church Worship
Nigerian Christians have faced constant attacks in the form of church bombings and shootings that have left hundreds dead over the last year, but worshippers are showing courage by insisting they will continue gathering at churches no matter what.
"The Bible teach me that we should have faith in God. This is our town. This is our home. This is where we should worship so we feel very free," expressed Amako Laraba, a mother of two from the Assemblies of God Church in Kaduna.
Militant Islamic sect Boko Haram has been waging war on the country's Christians throughout northern Nigeria. In the city of Kano this past Sunday, 20 people were killed when terrorists believed to belong to the militant group opened fire on a fleeing crowd that had gathered for service at Beryo University.
Four other Christians, including a pastor, were shot dead on the same day in the city of Maiduguri when gunmen opened fire at worshippers leaving Church of Christ in Nigeria.
Christians have had enough of the constant attacks against them and the seemingly helpless government to protect them, and are demanding Nigeria's forces step up the fight against Boko Haram by offering worshippers protection at the places they are most often targeted – at church.
Some of the new security measures that are finally being set up around Nigeria's churches include volunteer security guards checking trucks and cars entering church parameters, as well as metal detectors being used. Hopes are attackers with guns or explosive devices will be deterred, at least to an extent, from carrying out further massacres on church-going citizens.
What is more, armed policemen will be monitoring some church services, keeping an eye out for militants, reported Voice of America.
The Rev. Emmanuel Daudu from the Assemblies of God church in Kaduna expressed that although his congregation will not show fear while worshipping, they are determined to be security-conscious and not allow themselves to be caught unawares.
"We have to be alert always, because we don't know their plans against us or against the church," said the Rev. Daudu.
"We are feeling that, let's try and do what we are able to do, to do the best we can, to make sure that the tension that is rising in the minds of people at least is being cooled down or being reduced," added chief security officer Aminu Timothy Babah, who is patrolling the grounds of the church.
The defiant attitude expressed by church member Amako Laraba was evident by the "joyous bursts of singing" amid "bouts of fiery preaching and concentrated prayer," Voice of America reported, as Nigerians across the country continue praying for peace and an end to the violence.