Intense spiritual warfare continues unabated in southern Nigeria as peaceful Christians are slaughtered by Muslims while the outside world dismisses the conflict as merely economic in nature.
On New Year’s Eve at least 16 churchgoers were killed when Muslim gunmen opened fire on a midnight service getting out in Omuku, Nigeria’s southern Rivers state. A week later on January 7th a mass burial was held in Benue state for 49 Christians out of a group of at least 65 people slaughtered by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on New Years Day.
As Smyrna has reported before, the media often refers to “Fulani herdsman” in its stories of this conflict. Fulanis are a large, regional ethnic group devoted to Islam. Some are nomadic, raising livestock, which fuels the narrative that attacks against Christians by Fulani herdsman are motivated by land use preferences rather than Islam’s hate of followers of Christ. However, the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, uses the promise of gaining land from the Christians to incentivize the Muslim Fulani to terrorize Christian farmers.
Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom told reporters:
“What happened, from the report I have received, is far beyond what you have seen here. So many houses have been burnt. So many people have been killed.
“Can you imagine innocent children and women being killed and their private parts removed? People were slaughtered like animals. Women and children murdered with their throats slit open. The whole of Guma and Logo have been turned into desolate lands.”
Armed with deadly weaponry and cutlasses, these Islam-inspired murderers did not stop after January 1. On Jan. 2, and 5-6, continued attacks were carried out on predominantly Christian villages in central Nigeria. Morning Star News also reported attacks on January 22nd and 25th which led to eight Christians being killed and at least 50 homes belonging to Christians being burned.
Please lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ in Nigeria and pray for the preservation of their lives, but especially their faith. Pray that their gaze remains fixed on Jesus, knowing that this time of trial will produce in them the emergence of a faith like gold (1 Peter 1:7-9) and result in praise, honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.
Please also lift up Smyrna’s partner Pastor S in Nigeria who ministers in this conflict-ravaged area. Pray also for Smyrna’s partners Pastor “Mbarra” and Pastor “A” in nearby Ghana and Burkina Faso. They minister to both Christians and Muslims and are observing a significant surge in Islamic influence in their areas.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
— Ps. 118:5/6
2/22 — Pray for God’s comfort to rest on the families of those already martyred for their faith this year in Nigeria.
2/23 — Pray that Christians in Nigeria will remember that their citizenship is found in heaven, where God promises to transform their earthly bodies to be like His glorious body.
2/24 — Pray for Christians in Nigeria to look to the Lord for His strength to endure and seek His face always.
2/25 — Pray for opportunities for the Gospel to be shared compassionately and boldly with Muslims by His persevering, beloved sons and daughters in Nigeria.
2/26 — Pray that Christians in Nigeria will experience the prevailing, sufficient peace of Christ in every frightening situation and not be moved by the temporal threats of men.
2/27 — Pray for God’s protection for our partner, Pastor “S” and his churches in Nigeria. Pray that Christians in Nigeria will be richly encouraged at the hope of His promise to deliver them from the hand of the wicked and to come back and restore justice one day soon.
2/28 — Ask God to give wisdom and understanding to Nigerian pastors to shepherd their flocks with His Truth. Ask the Lord to guard them from false teachers who want to turn the work of the Spirit into the work of man.