Mission Moments: Nigeria (Monday, Jan. 9, 2012)
The news out of Nigeria continues to be nothing but bad. First, the government decided to remove fuel subsidies on Jan. 1 in that largely impoverished country. Fuel prices doubled and even tripled in some states, crippling the nation. As a result, violence has erupted and strikes on Monday silenced most city streets, which normally are teeming with vehicles.
Violence in Nigeria is not uncommon. “We have a history of Muslim-Christian violence in this area going back 30 years or more,” one pastor in the persecuted North recently told Open Doors ministry, “but few of us have seen the level of organized Muslim militancy as we see now.”
More Christians were martyred in Nigeria than any other country in 2011, and 2012 began where last year finished. Adamawa state in northeastern Nigeria went under a 24-hour curfew on Saturday after 12 Christians in the city of Yola were killed. Climbing For Christ’s Mission: Nigeria team was in Yola last month on their way in and our of the nearby Koma Hills, where evangelistic efforts resulted in several new believers giving their hearts to Jesus.
Much of this violence against Christians is a product of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for burning churches and police stations for many years. Boko Haram stands for “Western education is forbidden.” It was founded in 2001 and flourished until 2009, when it was forbidden by the government and dealt a serious blow by security forces. However, it reorganized with a vengeance in 2011. Its actions elevated North Nigeria to the 13th most persecuted place in the world (up from No. 23 in 2011), according to Open Doors.
Climbing For Christ has made a commitment to serving the vast spiritual needs among other people, but not exclusive to the primitive Koma tribes in the mountains along the Cameroon border. We partner with and support Pastor Chris Joseph, whose Lives Aglow ministry is located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Since the abrupt removal of fuel subsidy (which kept prices artificially low but hindered Nigeria’s troubled economy) things have been rough and tough with my family and myself,” Chris said on Monday. “I covet your prayers.
“Landlords and school owners want to take advantage of the removal of the fuel subsidy to increase their rent and school fees.”
Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, where extortion is a national pastime. The current upheaval will only fan the flames. Nigeria is a tinderbox waiting to explode.
“I know that those who put their trust in the Lord shall not be moved,” Pastor Chris said. “Kindly pray for us and the nation — that His perfect will be done.”