Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nigeria’s Christian communities at risk in post-election violence

Your prayers are urgently needed for Nigeria as post-election violence has spread to three northern states. Christian communities in these areas are particularly vulnerable.

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.

*LATEST UPDATE*
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.

Please pray:

- 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.

Blessings,

The CSW Team
Contact
- www.csw.org.uk

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

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

PASTORAL LETTER from the Archbishop of Jos

19 March 2011


Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

1 God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us,
That your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For you shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth.
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. (Psalm 67)

We have a God who hears and answers prayers, the one true living God, the One who is, the One who was and the One who is to come; the God who created the heavens and the earth, who chose to work in history amongst different nations of the earth at different times. He chose to walk with Israel, and through Israel to reveal himself to the world. He has spoken; he has acted and he has written. The Holy Scriptures are full of the testimonies, the stories and the history of God in action. We in our time are witnesses. Glory, majesty, dominion and power be unto God for ever and ever. Amen.

1. Let me commend every Christian in our care for being faithful in participating with God in the history of Nigeria in the recent registration exercise. Let me further appeal in the name of God: do not sell your voter’s card; do not throw it away; do not misplace it; do not allow it to be stolen – because God wants to use your registration to vote , to act in history for our common good, for your blessing and for a better future for the coming generation.
In the week before elections pastors of all our churches will inspect and pray over all the voters’ cards of all members. You are free to choose any candidate of your conviction; you are free to exercise your God-given human right in voting and you are encouraged to protect and defend your vote. Unless there is an acceptable reason from God it shall be a sin not to vote.

2. We are confident in God that those who have plans to disrupt the elections, or to bring disruption before or after the transition period are not of God. We know this because no evil or wicked plan ever comes from God. There are those who want to whip up emotion and sentiment on their candidates using religion, geography, ethnicity and so on. Under God, we implore each faithful Christian to be in prayer now to the Lord, to seek God’s intervention for Nigeria, and to ask for grace and favour for our country. This appeal is an appeal of faith as we believe with our whole heart and are absolutely convinced that if the church agrees to pray, God has agreed to answer.

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Therefore we urge you to pray the following:

i. Pray that God will elect sincere, God-fearing, honest candidates who will ensure security for all Nigerians, justice for all people, regardless of their religion, gender, ethnicity or nationality; people who will serve this nation and bring it out of darkness, poverty and corruption so that Nigeria is led to peace, prosperity and progress. Please earnestly ask God to give us such leaders. They may not even be people you know or like; they may not come from the same geographical area as yourself, but under a just INEC, with your votes, God will give us the best. Therefore pray also for INEC and for truth and justice to reign in the whole election process.

ii. Pray that God will change the hearts of any person or group of persons who gather together for the purpose of blood-letting, looting, arson and destruction of lives and property, and that God will surprise them with the conversion of their souls. If, however, they refuse and insist on their evil ways, then may God descend and destroy them. Let God arise and let all his enemies be scattered. Pray that all their evil intentions shall suffer a glamorous setback and the sponsors and executors will be demolished by the Spirit of the living God.

iii. Pray for a Biblical revival of the church, for the church to capture again the vision and the mission given to the apostles, that we may open our arms, our hearts , our homes and resources to receive converts into the Kingdom, and to win the world by the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in mission.



This pastoral letter is to be read in every home, every day, everywhere. Believers must meet and seek the face of God because the Day of the Lord is drawing nearer and we must not take the signs of the times for granted. We will give the testimony soon, and we will sing of the greatness of our God for ever and ever.

Jesus is LORD !!!

The Lord be with you,

+The Most Rev. Dr. B. A. Kwashi
Archbishop of Jos

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Friday, April 01, 2011

NIGERIA - CONCERNS FOR CHRISTIANS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

BARNABAS FUND reports,
On 9 April, Nigeria will hold presidential elections. Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south, has been leading the country since the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua (a Muslim) in May 2010. But Nigeria is a country where the religion of the candidates often takes precedence over their political agenda. Among them is Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim who does not hide his intention to use his power to promote Islam, should he be elected.
Christians already suffer frequent mob violence at the hands of Muslim extremists in some parts of Nigeria, especially in Plateau State, and there are concerns that anti-Christian attacks could increase if Buhari were to be elected. This area has seen a number of violent incidents since December 2010, including the murder of a mother and her children after a pre-dawn attack by young Muslims in a predominantly Christian village near Jos, Plateau State, on 28 February.

Ask that the Lord will overrule in the upcoming presidential elections and that a just and righteous leader will be elected who will guarantee religious freedom and security for all in Nigeria.
Pray for the Christians of Jos, who are being targeted because of their faith, that the Lord will rescue them and protect them. Pray for those who have been injured or bereaved in anti-Christian violence.

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