As violence escalates, threats abound and body counts rise. We pour over reports from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon for the latest on the developments in in the fight against Boko Haram. We see nations joining together in this fight, governments accusing one another, allegations of corruption and all manner of evil being manifest. Threats of evil growing and threats to conform nations to world views.
What else are we witnessing? The faithful being led to slaughter as lambs. The heartbreaking grief of their families. The world with it’s watchful eyes, some in shock, some in fear, some in disbelief. We watch the faith of our brethren in the midst of evil, in spite of the fear they face. We see them crying out to the global community for help. Crying out to the world body of Christians for prayer.
In a report shared by BBC, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said
“Brothers and sisters, there is no better time to storm the heavens with prayers and petitions than now.”
What we are seeing particularly in larger areas like Maidaguri is the wearing down of the Saints. How in their attempts to praise and thank God for His love and guidance, they are prevented from gathering in houses of worship. They are fearful not only for their lives, but for the life of their Nation. Neighboring countries have united and are beginning to combat this evil with reports that 300 Boko Haram have been killed just in the last hours. Recently, Maidaguri has come under attack with threats of being taken over by Boko Haram.
And as in this report that we received from Fr. Gideon Obasogie states, Christians in the capital city (Maidaguri) are really paying the price for their faith. Their movements are so restricted they cannot even have a sound gathering on a Sunday to thank God for his love thus far and most particularly to pray for peaceful elections. The threats and distractions have become totally unbearable. The ferocious attempt by the unrepentant radical Islamist militants, Boko Haram to overrun the capital city of Maiduguri has been very frightening. I wonder and sometimes I am forced to think aloud, when will this culture of savagery and bloodletting end. Is it that as a Nation we lack the inner capacity to abate it? With the recent waves of attacks, there is so much fear and tension in the air. With the Polls drawing ever close we see all sorts of personalities with well fashioned and designed promises too good to be taken as true; trooping into Maiduguri and the northeast, not to identify with us in our plight but to beg for our votes.
Nigerians are beginning to feel like pawns in a vicious lethal game, not knowing who to trust. It is very encouraging to know that neighboring governments are rallying together to combat this. But it’s discouraging that promises and visits from dignitaries are not addressing the plight of the millions that have been displaced in a blatant disregard for human life and dignity. We have reported that the refugee camps are grossly neglected. They are infiltrated with rebels from Nigeria to Yemen. Rebels use these camps as recruiting tools, even kidnapping, sex traffic and arms trades, with some reporting that there are sleeper cells living with the refugees. The camps are very dangerous causing many refugees to flee into the bush with out even the basic of supplies to sustain them.
We received a report from our contact who recently visited a refugee camp and the testimonies are heart wrenching. Sharing with the refugee’s what little they had, they were told this: “I have been here for 10 months without meat, produce, nor salt to put in our soups.” These precious people also said to pray hard for normalcy to returned to the Gwoza local government so that they can go back home. Others mirrored this request and testimony pleading to the Christians in Nigeria and abroad to continue to pray for them because they have no shelter or even a mat to sleep on. One father describes the tears his son sheds at night for simply an orange. In October of last year Fr. Gideon Obasogie reported that refugees in the thousands were eating grass to survive. This has also been reported by our contacts on the ground. The aid efforts are grossly inadequate, with many afraid to travel to the hardest hit areas. They ask prayers for the governments to return to normal. That statement alone stands out like the elephant in the room. What has happened? What evil has overtaken and infiltrated even the basic of government in this nation? This country can’t even guarantee the basics of safety to it’s residents.
The confusion of the people and the government is obvious in Fr. Obasogie’s report in his statement “If anyone needs our votes, our safety must first be assured.” Where is the UN, where is the world? The BRICS nations have been courting Africa for some time for it’s minerals, and oil, but where are they now when the people of Northern Africa suffer so much? It’s been said the US offered to train the military, but it’s unclear what happened, if it was rescinded or turned down. It’s been claimed that the US supplied drones to help look for the Chibok schoolgirls, but appears to have short lived. It’s also been said that the US is supplying intelligence, but that can’t be proven. France has a presence in the nation off and on, Chad, Cameroon and Niger are building troops, but where is the UN?
Maiduguri’s Christian population is at great risk. Maiduguri is the state capital and the seat of Government, with all its structures, with a high concentration of state population and the commercial nerve of the northeast. If it falls, the citizens will be more facile to radicalization. And the terrorists will have more conscripts. If it falls, we have only succeeded collectively in empowering the terrorists, recapturing it would take some time and the consequences apparently would be deadly.
Nigerian Christians are wearing down, their faith is great in the face of persecution, however their needs are also great. They need and deserve a government that will fight for them, fight for their rights, their dignity, their right to live in peace and prosper. And their right to worship Christ.
Pray for Nigeria. We will be lifting up Nigeria on our International Prayer Call ‘FIRE in FERUARY on Friday, Feb. 2oth. See details here
- Pray for leadership that will provide just & fair judgements. Leadership with a love for all Nigerians
- Pray for peace.
- Pray for Boko Haram to be defeated.
- Pray for normalcy to return to the lives of the people of Nigeria.
- Pray for comfort.
- Pray for strength and endurance.
- Pray for the lost in the country to be found in Christ.
Above all Nigeria know that Christians everywhere are with you, we are praying with and for you, we are suffering with you and we are watching. God is with you!
By C.Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
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