Date:  January 21, 2023

We recently received a tragic series of reports from Nigeria, detailing an appalling spate of violence, deaths and abductions targeting Christians and church leaders in particular. 

This is part of a crisis of violence which has gripped central Nigeria for over a decade, and has now spread to other regions.

In response to this renewed series of attacks, we renew our efforts in prayer for this nation – especially as Nigeria’s elections are fast-approaching. Let’s stir our hearts to pray using words from Psalm 10: 

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. (Psalm 10:12)

On Sunday 15 January at around 3 am a Catholic priest, Rev Father Isaac Achi, was killed in a fire in the central state of Niger. Terrorists had set the rectory ablaze after failing to gain entry by force. A colleague, Rev Fr Collins Omeh, managed to escape from the burning building, but sustained gunshot wounds and is being treated in hospital.

On the same day, terrorists on motorcycles abducted 25 churchgoers in the north-western state of Katsina, severely assaulting the pastor when he attempted to intervene. The Hausa Muslim community also continues to be targeted with assault and abduction in this state.

The previous evening (14 January) saw the abduction of yet another Catholic priest – Rev Fr Michael Olubunmi Olofinlade – this time in the southern state of Ekiti.

These are just a few of the terrible incidents from last weekend alone. Between 19 and 26 December over 40 people were killed and at least 85 abducted in attacks across the southern part of Kaduna state in central Nigeria.

It’s clear that the violence has been allowed to spread and take root across Nigeria.

This is why we must pray, not only for the safe return of every abductee and comfort for those who have lost loved ones, but also for the election of leaders who will protect vulnerable communities and contain the violence.

Nigeria’s general election will take place on 25 February, followed by gubernatorial elections on 11 March. Will you join us in praying for leaders who will take decisive action and lead the country towards peace, stability and justice?