Date:  November 22, 2023

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 720 

By Elizabeth Kendal

In the early hours of Monday 5 July 2021 armed Fulani Muslims invaded Damishi village, in Chikun Local Government Area (LGA), southern Kaduna, in Nigeria’s North West Region. After breaching the walls of Bethel Baptist High School, the militants overpowered security and abducted 121 students from the school’s boarding hostel [RLPB 605 (7 July 2021)]. Over the next few months, the militants released children in batches as churches joined forces to raise ransom [RLPB 623 (10 Nov 2021)]. By 1 January 2022 only one student remained in captivity. Having only just turned 12, Treasure Ayuba was the youngest to be taken. As reported in RLPB 634 (22 Feb 2022) the terrorists had groomed and manipulated the traumatised boy to such an extent that when ransom was delivered to secure his freedom, he refused to leave. Convinced they had secured a convert, the terrorists put the boy to work, running errands…

Treasure Ayuba meets with (left) Rev Dr Israel Akanji, President Nigerian Baptist Convention, and (right) Rev Joseph Hayab, chairman CAN, Kaduna.

…‘but the church was earnestly praying to God for him’ (v5, from Acts 12:1-19 NIV). And as the church earnestly prayed, the Spirit of God got to work bringing a liberating clarity to the young boy’s traumatised mind. Eventually, at some time around the end of October, after 28 months in captivity, Treasure (now aged 14) went out on an errand and did not return. He travelled at night and hid by day until he found hunters who took him to his hometown. Open Doors reports: ‘His mum didn’t know he’d escaped until he turned up in her doorway – an answer to her faithful prayers and the prayers of many Christians around the world.’ On Thursday night 2 November, the Nigeria Baptist Convention confirmed that Treasure Ayuba had been reunited with his family. Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna described Treasure’s escape as ‘a miracle’. A miracle indeed – ‘in answer to the prayers of many’ (2 Corinthians 1:11).

Still, many Christians abducted in Northern Nigeria remain missing. On the night of 14-15 April 2014, Boko Haram terrorists abducted 276 girls aged 16-18 from the student hostel at the Government Girls Secondary School in the mostly Christian town of Chibok, in Borno State, in Nigeria’s North East Region [RLPB 257 (23 April 2014)]. Around 100 of those girls remain missing to this day. On 19 February 2018, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) abducted 110 girls from the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi, Yobe State, also in Nigeria’s North East Region. One month later, having been criticised for targeting Muslims, the terrorists returned the girls to their families – all except one! The terrorists retained Leah Sharibu (14), a Christian, because despite being given the opportunity, she steadfastly refused to convert to Islam to secure her release [RLPB 448 (28 Mar 2018)]. Leah (now aged 20) remains in captivity – a ‘slave’ of ISWAP – to this day.

Slain ECWA pastors: (left) Rev David Musa, killed 14 Nov 2023
(right) Rev Amako Maraya, killed 17 Nov 2023.

On Saturday 11 November 2023 Muslim militants abducted the Reverend David Musa of the ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) church in Obajana area, Lokoja LGA, Kogi State – which is in North Central Region and south of the capital, Abuja. On 14 November, after the terrorists received the ransom payment from the church, they killed him. On Friday night 17 November 2023, Fulani militants invaded Damakasuwa village in Southern Kaduna’s Kauru LGA. They killed the Reverend Amako Maraya, who leads the Second ECWA church in Damakasuwa, and abducted his wife. It was second time the pastor’s house had been targeted in three months. Pastor Maraya’s widow, Mrs Grace Maraya, was released on Sunday evening 19 November after the church paid the ransom; she was immediately hospitalised with severe trauma.


  • thoroughly infiltrate conflict-ravaged, terrorist-infested and chronically insecure Northern Nigeria to bring peace to all peoples and liberty to all captives.
  • orchestrate a breakthrough in Nigeria’s complex and multi-theatre war with Islamic jihadists: may the corrupt politicians and military officers who facilitate this war for personal and/or economic gain and/or for ideological reasons be exposed as traitors to their country and removed from their positions of power and influence. May Nigerians desire and demand something better from their leaders: e.g. righteousness and honour.
  • intervene in the spiritual realm to restrain evil so that grace and truth might advance in the nation. May Nigeria’s courageous missionary-sending Church continue to grow despite her many martyrs. In this intense spiritual battle for Nigeria, may Jesus Christ have the victory!

We praise and thank-you Lord for liberating Treasure Ayuba; may the Holy Spirit bring healing to this deeply traumatised boy and to Nigeria’s deeply traumatised Church: in this we pray especially for Rev Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna, who for many years has served as the Kaduna Church’s ‘first responder’, negotiator, spokesperson and pastor.

REMINDER: please pray for the blasphemy trial resuming in Bauchi on 27 November, as lawyers representing Rhoda Jatau present their ‘No-Case Submission’. Lord have mercy. [For more information and specific prayer requests see RLPB 717, Blasphemy in Bauchi, 1 Nov 2023.]

Psalm for the imperilled, traumatised Christians of Northern Nigeria: Psalm 146
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation… The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind… he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
AMEN (‘so be it’!)