Nigeria’s Christian communities at risk in post-election violence
Nigeria’s presidential elections, which took place on Saturday, are being hailed as the fairest poll in decades, with votes from all but one state showing that President Goodluck Jonathan won the election. But, supporters of his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari accused the ruling party of rigging. Many of them, particularly youths, hit the streets in protest, with fighting, burning and rioting breaking out.
In many northern Nigerian states the violence began on polling day and has continued since then. Anglican Bishop Henry Ndukuba of Gombe informed CSW he and his family had to be escorted to their home by two squads of armed police after their Sunday church service.
The Bishop added that the violence is “very well planned. It’s breaking out in different parts of the city at the same time. The police are trying to contain it but it is so sporadic. We keep praying. The Lord will carry us safely through this”.
In Kaduna and Zaria, churches have been burnt and Christian homes and businesses were looted as armed CPC supporters roamed the streets attacking supporters and officials of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). One man was reportedly murdered in Zaria as he tried to stop them burning a church, while polytechnic students were allegedly murdered in their hostels. At one point the predominantly Christian area of Kabala West was reported to be besieged by Muslim youths. A 24-hour curfew is now in place, but the situation is incredibly volatile. Reports just reaching us indicate the Kafanchan area is currently "on fire".
CSW has so far received reports of violence in Gombe, Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi states. Although all are under curfew, the violence continues. Around 3,000 people are reported to have been displaced in Bauchi, where so far our contacts have confirmed the deaths of 22 people and the destruction of over 40 churches. According to Anglican Bishop Musa Tula, Christians in Bauchi "are now left in the arms of God, with no other security".
Christian communities in Shari’a states are particularly vulnerable at this time.
CSW has just recieved a call from the Bishop of Gombe saying that the attacks are continuing and the attackers are coming for him. Please pray for the Bishop and his family.
- That the violence would end, and that the protesters would have a change of heart and abandon the rioting.
- For protection for vulnerable Christian communities in Shari’a states in northern Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna (Kafanchan), Gombe, Bauchi and Kano.
- For members of CSW’s partner organisation on the ground, CSW Nigeria, who are in the middle of the violence in Kaduna State.
- For CPC leader Muhammadu Buhari to condemn the violence and reign in his supporters
- For free and peaceful gubernatorial (governor) elections this Saturday and for the election of candidates who will govern with integrity and justice.
- For peace and national reconciliation in the face of a politically polarised society.
Please continue to pray throughout this week – you will find updated prayer news on our Nigeria pages.
Thank you for your prayers for Nigeria at this crucial time.
The CSW Team
CSW is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
PO Box 99, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3YF