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Don’t forget about Nigerian Christians

A Christian family mourn three relatives killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria, in December 2011.
A Christian family mourn three relatives killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria, in December 2011. | Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde

What would you do if taking your family to church this Sunday could be a death sentence? What would you do if being a member of a local Christian community made it more likely to lose your life or children to terrorism?

When you go to church to worship with your local Christian community this Sunday, you probably won’t feel unsafe. But many Christians in central and northern Nigeria cannot say the same.

Between December 23rd and Christmas Day on December 25th, Fulani terrorists massacred up to 200 Christians and injured 500 more in Plateau State.

That wasn’t the first time Fulani militants massacred hundreds of people in Plateau State. Months prior in May, they murdered over 130 Christians, including women and children. They also burned crops and houses, displacing over 20,000 people. 

These massacres and instances of persecution against Christians are the norm in some states in Nigeria. Over the last 15 years, More than 50,000 Nigerian Christians have been killed for their faith, 18,000 churches have been destroyed, and millions more have been displaced. 

In 2023, around 5,000 Christians were killed worldwide because of their faith — 90% of them were Nigerians. 

Nigeria is the deadliest country for Christians. Every Christian in northern (and some central states) Nigeria is probably grieving the loss of a spouse or a child (or both) from persecution. 

Two of the people killed in the May 2023 massacre were the wife and son of a pastor in Plateau State. He recently said: “I am asking God to forgive our attackers, and for them to enter the Kingdom of God and not to die in their sins.”

If he hasn’t forgotten to pray for his enemies, then we shouldn’t forget to pray for and support our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. 

The world has already forgotten about the Christmas attacks in Nigeria. They barely paid attention to it when it happened. The Nigerian federal and local governments are too weak and often too sympathetic to Islamic terrorists and Sharia law, respectively, to help Christians in central and Northern Nigeria.

This is why Alliance Defending Freedom International is giving Christians (and other religious minorities) in Nigeria legal support from Sharia charges of blasphemy. 

Recently, they successfully defended the religious freedoms of four young Christians named Hannah, Faith, Elijah, and Barbara. 

Hannah was taken to a Sharia Court because she rejected Islam for Christ. Faith was evicted by her parents because of her faith in Christ and accused of apostasy before the Sharia Court. Elijah received death threats from his family because he converted from Islam to Christianity, and then they pursued the death penalty under Sharia law. Barbara became a Christian and remarried after her husband divorced her. However, her former husband accused her of adultery before a Sharia Court and the judge ordered that Barbara and her husband should be sent to prison pending the trial. 

Alliance Defending Freedom International saved these young Christians from prison and death, and they’re seeking to do the same with a young Sufi Muslim named Yahaya Sharif-Aminu.

Yahaya is a singer-songwriter in his early 20s. He’s a Sufi Muslim, making him a religious minority in northern Nigeria’s mostly Sunni population. He shared some of his songs in a WhatsApp group in 2020. Some of the members in the WhatsApp group, however, accused Yahaya of committing blasphemy against the “prophet” Muhammad. Soon a mob surrounded his family’s home and burned it down. Police officers subsequently arrested Yahaya and he was convicted under Sharia court — without legal counsel — to death by hanging.

He’s appealed his death sentence, and with the support of Alliance Defending Freedom International, his case will be decided at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

If Yahaya wins his case, it wouldn’t just save his life. It could save the lives of Christians facing blasphemy charges in Nigeria. 

The Bible says, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3)

So don’t forget about Nigerian Christians, don’t forget about Christians who are in prison and being mistreated in Nigeria. Please pray for them. Please pray for Alliance Defending Freedom International. Pray that they would share the gospel with Yahaya so he would have eternal life in Christ. 

And please donate to Alliance Defending Freedom International so they can support Yahaya and Christians in Nigeria. 

Christians like you and me are the only people who can truly help persecuted Christians. Your donation would be a great help.

Please donate here.


Originally published at Slow to Write. 

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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