(Voice of the Persecuted) The news of one horrific attack after another breaks daily in Nigeria. The suffering and displacement of Christians and other innocents in the North is astronomical. In a recent investigation, we have learned there are approx. 3,000 refugees flooding one church, alone. The pastor tells us that the displaced are sent to his church for refuge. How can the churches in the affected areas accommodate all these, when many times they can barely support their own members? However, they are not turned away. Many must sleep on the concrete floors, including the children caught up in the devastation. There is simply no other place to put them.
Dedicated to helping the suffering Christians, one Nigerian described his emotions after years of evaluating and responding to the escalating and ongoing attacks. “My heart is always bleeding and terrified.” He shared with us a heartbreaking story of a 3 week old baby whose parents were both killed, along with scenes of death and dying, the situation of the trapped Attagara Christians eating grass because there is no food and none forthcoming. He tells of sleepless nights and how helpless he feels when the deliveries are not enough and how abandoned they feel. “Why do many with so much care so little? Do they not know the full extent of the situation? Have they not heard the truth?” Then he vowed to not sleep or stop, until his people are helped.
We’ve found that the Cameroon government had been turning away Christian refugees from it’s borders, as well as closing schools in what could be described as placating the mutinous body of murderers. For those who are able to enter, they may be forced to sleep in tents with nearly 100 other refugees, staying for many months if not longer.
In November, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 4,000-5,000 arrive each week in the far north of Cameroon, which borders the militant Islamist group Boko Haram’s controlled territory of Borno State. About 70 percent of new arrivals are women and children who need immediate assistance in the form of food, shelter and medical care.
The UN’s special representative for central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily warned the refugee situation is on the verge of a disaster. “If nothing is done urgently, it is very likely that a humanitarian catastrophe will follow that would further complicate the security challenges.”
We heard claims of the suicide bomber in Maiduguri Market that killed over 75 people was possibly an abducted girl, though not from Chibok. The insurgents frequently abduct women and children to use as sex slaves or soldiers. Many are forcibly converted to Islam and the girls married off to it’s members. This is an ongoing problem that continues to grow. See our report, Abducted Christian Girl held for 3 months in a Boko Haram Camp
Another slaughter of 48 Christians along Lake Chad was also done by newly recruited insurgents abducted by the radical militants. And in Maiduguri, a bomb was planted by abducted men, but they were apprehended. A clear pattern erupts of the torture that these precious souls endure at the hands of these insurgents. Men who claim they honor a deity by this behavior.
- Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, due to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants,
- Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.
- Youth in Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world.
- Regarding religion, Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the northern and southwestern regions.
- In 2014, Nigeria’s economy (GDP) became the largest in Africa, worth more than $500 billion, and overtook South Africa to become the world’s 21st largest economy.
- The country’s oil reserves have played a major role in its growing wealth and influence.
- Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank and has been identified as a regional power in Africa.
- It is also a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe’s next “BRIC-like” economies.
- Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, OPEC, and the United Nations among other international organizations.
- Population: 6 million people
- Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- In 2013 National Geographic reported that more than 4700 people had died in the conflicts that started in 2009.
- Today according to some estimates, that figure has doubled to over 11,000. Since 1998, at least 29,600 Nigerians have been killed in more than 2,300 incidents.
Globally, there appears to be little concern for the displacement of thousands, even tens of thousands of Christians and other minorities. And it is clear that many of the once flourishing western missions for Africa have abandoned Northern Nigeria. Some may still have a presence, but due to the great need—their outreach programs struggle, or are failing in this present crisis. Support is largely inadequate for these precious souls. Many are barely surviving under harsh conditions deficient of food, shelter, and medicine. Quickly spreading disease and illness put the displaced at further risks. Children and the elderly are most susceptible. While gathering reports on these atrocities, our hearts break for our brethren in north Nigeria. At times, we can’t hold back the tears when our representatives in the field share details of each new attack, or the situation survivors are facing.
In the media, you may have read of the brutal attacks taking place in Nigeria. Stories of tribal/religious conflicts, bombings, kidnapping, innocents maimed, or killed. Tomorrow will bring new headlines to grab your attention, but what of those who have found themselves homeless, widowed, or orphaned? In the fast pace of this information age, our attention span grows shorter. Do we even recall or wonder about yesterday’s victims, or are they nothing more than a quick blip on a radar screen.
It’s hard to fall asleep at night knowing it doesn’t end with the attacks. For the most part, it’s when the suffering begins. Still, we are encouraged by their steadfast faith and trust in God. Praising and worshiping HIM in midst of great trials.
From our communications with those suffering in Nigeria:
“I never lean on my own understanding for safety, I totally rely on God. And never think of being a victim when God is in absolute control. By grace of God, I am saved and nothing by any means will hurt me. There is supernatural strength in persecution.”
“I have no doubt, fear or regret in whatsoever situation that would befall me provided am serving the persecuted believers. I want you to also have faith and believe that God is watching over me and HE is the only one to help me stay safe. I love God and have passion for this work.”
“Jesus is still with us.”
They always ask for continued prayers.
“All I need you have given me, A PRAYER TEAM WHO ARE PRAYING FOR ME.”
“Thank you so much for the prayers and constant assessment of situation. Keep on praying so that God will change sad stories to blessing.”
“KEEP on praying for me.”
After you view the images in the video below, pause for a moment before you read that next sensational headline. Ask yourself, what is their current situation? Are they hungry, sick, cold, or need a comforting touch? Is anyone coming to their aid or caring for their injuries? How will they overcome their emotional wounds? Has anyone said prayers for them, today?
Please remember persecuted Nigerian Christians in your prayers.
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support.
VOP Advocate Team
Articles/photos may be reprinted with link/credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED.