Date:  February 14, 2023

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 680 

Nigeria is at a pivotal point in its history. 'The election in 2023 will determine whether the nation grows as an entity or disintegrates' (Release International). Nigeria has a population of 220 million, around half of whom identify as Christian. The Nigerian Church is one of the world’s leading missionary-sending Churches.

RLPB 678. Nigerian Elections (1): The Candidates, 1 Feb 2023
RLPB 679. Nigerian Elections (2): Insecurity and the Igbo, 8 Feb 2023


by Elizabeth Kendal

President Muhammadu Buhari

THE BUHARI AGENDA: On 25 February, when Nigerians vote to elect a new president, it will be the first time in 20 years that Muhammadu Buhari – a Fulani Muslim from the North West – has not been on the ballot. Prior to Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Major-General Buhari did hold power for a little under two years as a military dictator. In December 1983 Maj-Gen Buhari seized power from a civilian government in a military coup, only to lose power in August 1985 to General Ibrahim Babangida (another Northern Muslim) in another military coup. Prior to this, Lieutenant Buhari participated in the infamous 29 July 1966 military coup by which North Muslim officers seized control of the military and the state. A tsunami of genocidal ethno-religious violence subsequently swept across the Muslim North, targeting the Igbo, Nigeria’s most Christian (98 percent), most industrious and most widely dispersed tribe. Traumatised by the ethno-religious cleansing, the Igbo declared independence in their homeland of Biafra, in Nigeria’s South East. This triggered the Nigerian civil war from July 1967 to January 1970 (also known as the Biafra War) in which up to two million ethnic Igbo were killed [see RLPB 679 (8 Feb 2023)]. Having served as president for two four-year terms (the maximum permitted by the constitution) Buhari cannot re-contest. However, there is little doubt that President Buhari spent his eight years in power putting all the pieces in place to ensure the success of his life-long agenda: to Islamise and ‘Fulanise’ Nigeria: i.e. to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State dominated and ruled by the Fulani.

FULANI EXPANSION: Fulani violence comes from two different sources: (1) Nigerian Fulani herdsmen, and (2) foreign, imported Fulani mercenaries. Nigerian Fulani herdsmen routinely conflict with agriculturalists, be they Middle Belt Christians or the North West’s indigenous Hausa. The Nigerian Fulani herdsmen are in turn driven and supported by corrupt Fulani elites in the military and in government who use the herdsmen to effect Fulani territorial expansion. The foreign Fulani – who mostly hail from Niger and Mali [Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy (D&FA 9,2022)] – were imported to ‘wreak havoc’ and ensure that Buhari won the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections. Lured into Nigeria with promises of land and cash from Fulani state governors, state and federal MPs, and military officials, they remain in Nigeria to this day. According to a Church source (Fides, 16 Jan 2023) these foreign Fulani mercenaries are ‘dedicated to robberies and kidnappings … at the service of those who pay them to commit massacres and murders.’ They invade Christian villages riding on motorbikes, wearing bulletproof vests and firing automatic weapons; perpetrating massacres, displacing thousands and unleashing terror across the Middle Belt with impunity.


Nigeria's Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) meets with Iranian Ambassador, Mohammed Alibak, to promote military ties, 24 Aug 2022
Magashi, a Fulani Muslim from Nigeria's North West, stands accused of corruption and of 'pampering Fulani terrorists'.
MILITARY TIES WITH IRAN: Since 2016, the Buhari government has been quietly sending Nigerian Fulani for military training in Iran. According to D&FA (9,2022) at least 600 of these Nigerian Fulani ‘are now back in Nigeria and are within the overall Fulani militia movement’. Further to this, the Buhari government recently deepened its official ties with Iran. On 24 August 2022 Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd), hosted Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammed Alibak, to promote Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) meets with Iranian Ambassador, Mohammed Alibak, to promote military ties, 24 Aug 2022.military ties between the Armed Forces of the two countries. On 27 August 2022 Nigeria and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand energy co-operation and military ties. Muslims unite and divide along several axes, not just the sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite Axis. While Nigeria’s ruling Muslims are Sunni, and Iran’s ruling Islamic clerics are Shi’ite, both governments share a desire to defeat the Islamic State terror group (which is anti-government, trans-nationalist and virulently anti-Shi’ite). Muslim groups and governments also unite or divide over whether they are pro- or anti-Muslim Brotherhood and whether they are allied to or actively resisting the United States and Israel. Thus the Iran (Persian-Shi’ite)-led Axis of Resistance includes numerous ‘resistance’ groups such as Shi’ite Arab Hezbollah, Sunni Arab Hamas and Sunni trans-nationalist al-Qaeda. All Christians should be deeply concerned by this development.


Jihadists pose with Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) possibly purchased from corrupt Nigerian military. (Global Sentinel, Sept 2021)

TURKEY AND THE JIHAD: Meanwhile, Turkey – specifically Turkey’s intelligence agency (MIT) – is deeply involved in Nigeria’s jihadist movement. D&FA has been warning since at least December 2014 that Turkey has been supporting and selling weapons to Boko Haram. In November 2019, Gatestone Institute reported that Turkey was supplying Boko Haram with sophisticated weapons. Jihadists also work with criminals to import weapons over Nigeria’s porous borders. Furthermore, in May 2019, Religious Liberty Monitoring warned that corrupt elites in the Nigerian government and military were prolonging the conflict with Boko Haram for personal gain as they personally profited from ‘Armsgate’: corruption in military procurement. Questions remain as to how jihadists are obtaining weapons from the Nigerian military, including Anti-Airforce Artillery which jihadists have used to down jets from the sky and blow away Nigerian infantry on the ground. Now that Boko Haram has split, split again, and dispersed across the nation [RLPB 562 (12 Aug 2020)] fears abound that the security situation is beyond the capabilities of the overstretched, under resourced and critically demoralised Nigerian military. To both advance jihad and win favour with the Nigerian government, Turkey is now selling armed drones to both sides (the jihadists and the Nigerian military). If ethnic-religious war erupts, Christian vulnerability will be beyond comprehension.


  • intervene in Nigeria to frustrate the wicked plans of wicked people who pursue power and wealth at the cost of peace, the interests of the nation and a multitude of human lives (see Psalm 146).
  • intervene in Nigeria to protect, sustain and – above all – sanctify his precious Church in Nigeria. May no evil plans or weapons fashioned against her succeed; and may all God’s purposes for her be fulfilled.

‘The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations… Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.’ (from Psalm 33:10-22).

  • expand and empower all Christian prayer for and mission to Nigeria’s Muslims. May the Holy Spirit call and compel many more Nigerian Christians into prayer and mission, born of love, for Nigeria’s Northern Hausa and Fulani. May the Holy Spirit open the eyes of the Fulani, that they might discern good from evil, truth from lies and recognise when they are being used/exploited by corrupt Fulani elites in pursuit of power and wealth. May the Holy Spirit – ‘the Lord, the giver of life’ (Nicaean Creed) – open Muslim hearts to receive the Gospel.