Nigeria (MNN) — When the courts of a country fail to prosecute, the International Criminal Court (ICC) steps in.
ICC’s Chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, stated last Monday, August 5, that Boko Haram is being investigated by ICC for “crimes against humanity” through “widespread and systematic attacks.”
Greg Kelly with World Mission says, “They’ve been targeting Christians especially; in the neighborhood of about 3,000 people have lost their lives as the direct result of their attacks since 2009. So they’re very aggressive and they definitely target Christians and they primarily operate in Northern Nigeria…. They want to incorporate Sharia law among all of Northern Nigeria.”
World Mission has worked in Northern Nigeria for 12 years. They’ve been personally impacted by Boko Haram’s attacks.
“We’ve lost leaders in that area,” says Kelly. “In fact, just a few months ago, one of our leaders…in Northeast Nigeria, they were participating in a prayer meeting and Boko Haram people sort of invaded that area and executed 10 people including our state national leader.”
It’s not safe to be a Christian in Northern Nigeria. When someone makes a decision to follow Christ, sometimes World Mission has to take protective action.
Kelly says, “In villages where hostilities are exaggerated, then in those cases it’s just not safe for someone who’s made a decision to follow Christ. Once they’re found, then they tend to disappear and we never hear from them again. So that’s why we try and bring people out into a safe harbor, disciple them, mentor them, grow them in their understanding of who Jesus is and then reintroduce them into either that village or another area where they can be effective.”
Because Boko Haram is so radical, they are difficult to engage, says Kelly. But God has called World Mission to reach northern Nigerians, including Boko Haram. “We’ve been distributing The Treasure, which is our solar powered audio Bible, in the Hausa language—which is the language of the Boko Haram,” Kelly says. “And so we do distributions and set up listening groups and we’ve seen 20 people give their lives to Christ just in recent weeks.”
A high percentage of the population in Northern Nigeria learns orally. 9 times out of 10, they prefer The Treasure audio Bible to a written Bible. World Mission has a goal to distribute 500 Treasures to Northern Nigeria this year. On average, one Treasure touches the lives of 12 people. Over 50,000 people would be impacted by these 500 Treasures.
According to Kelly, “It takes $50 for us to distribute a Treasure. What that does is that unleashes our entire arsenal so to speak. We’re distributing a unit, paying the royalties, it’s providing follow-up, it’s providing leadership training.”
There’s also an opportunity to engage a community’s physical needs when World Mission passes out Treasure audio Bibles. “In many instances especially in Northern Nigeria in places where there’s radicalization of Islam, we’ll do a water well or we’ll do a humanitarian expression which just softens the soil and makes the Treasure that much more impactful. So in Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has created 240,000 refugees just in two states, and so there’s a real humanitarian crisis that’s really not spoken about,” says Kelly.
Pray for World Mission as they distribute Treasures to communities in Northern Nigeria. Pray for safety and for many Muslims to come to Christ.