Nigeria (MNN) — Frustration and fear reign in Nigeria. On Monday, Boko Haram executed a well-known pastor and regional Christian leader, Lawan Andimi. Yesterday, the Christian Association of Nigeria demanded answers from the Nigerian government.
“The sentiments were ‘Hey, national government, you have announced repeatedly that you defeated Boko Haram. But, look at what happened,” Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton says.
“‘They obviously are not defeated. They’re still killing Christians. They’re still killing pastors.’”
Threats to the Nigerian Christian community
As explained here, Boko Haram surfaced as a serious threat to Nigeria’s believers in mid-2009. Its name means “Western education is sin,” and the terrorists’ goal is to eradicate everything associated with the West – including Christianity.
President Muhammed Buhari was elected in 2015, reportedly on “the strength of promises to end terrorism and improve security in the country.” After a brief lull, Boko Haram attacks surged again in 2019.
Boko Haram isn’t the only danger.
In a video released this week by Nigerian ISIS affiliates, an eight-year-old child executed a Christian prisoner and promised more bloodshed. Shortly after Christmas, ISWAP released a video showing the brutal murder of 11 believers.
Noting the government’s lackluster response on believers’ behalf, the Christian Association of Nigeria issued an appeal to world powers. So far, no one has stepped up to help. In fact, the spread of Islamic extremism throughout West Africa is largely ignored.
“The world typically doesn’t pay as much attention to Africa as they do to other parts of the world,” Nettleton says.
“It’s certainly a frustration for the Nigerian Christians who say, ‘Wait a minute, we’re being killed, we’re being beheaded. World, why aren’t you paying attention?’”
How to help
Pray for Nigeria, and pray for the pastor’s family. He leaves behind a wife and children. “One of the things that was amazing about the hostage video was… he spoke to his family and he said, ‘Hey, don’t worry, God’s got this. God has allowed this to happen.’ And so, I hope they will be encouraged by that,” Nettleton says.
“His faith is now being rewarded; he’s in heaven, his suffering is over. But, it is certainly very difficult news for his family, as well as the Church in Nigeria.”
You can also send tangible help to persecuted believers through Voice of the Martyrs, such as soap, blankets, bedsheets, and clothes. Learn more here. VOM Action Packs contain both physical and spiritual necessities.
“It’s important for us to pray for the Church in Nigeria; as I mentioned, they are frustrated,” Nettleton says. “This is hard for them to see another pastor killed. Pray for peace, pray for encouragement.”
Header image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs USA.