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Focus on Nigeria

MALI NIGER

Kano

BURKINA FASO

NIGERIA

Maiduguri

CHAD

Kaduna Jos

BENIN

Abuja

TOGO

Lagos

Population: 170 million Majority Religion: Disputed – Muslim majority in north; Christian majority in south Christian population: 85 million (estimated) Persecution Category: Severe (in north)

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Independence from Britain in 1960 was followed by decades of coups, civil war and military dictatorship. Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer, but the majority of Gulf of Guinea Nigerians live below the poverty line, and corruption is ubiquitous. Nigeria is CONGO constitutionally secular, with freedom of religion. Christians living in the north experience discrimination and violent Islamist attacks, including house burning, abduction and the bombing and torching of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of churches. Thousands of Christians have died: more Christians have been martyred in northern Nigeria in recent years than anywhere else in the world, and many Muslims have been killed in retaliation in the volatile central areas.

GHANA

CAMEROON

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Since 1999 full Sharia law has been imposed across twelve northern states and there has been a growth of violent Islamist groups, especially Boko Haram, founded in 2002. Its name means “Western education is forbidden”, and it aims to rid the country of Christianity and the federal system and to bring it under its restrictive interpretation of Sharia law. According to the Nigerian • INNOCENT VICTIMS president, since Boko Haram’s latest armed insurgency began in 2010, it has killed at least 12,000 Killed going to church people, including state officials and moderate Muslims. Boko Haram has targeted and destroyed Photo: Vanguard entire Muslim villages it deems to have betrayed it. It has also infiltrated the government, security agencies and judiciary. In central and northern Nigeria, Christians also face deadly raids by ethnic Fulani militants armed with machetes and guns. The motivation is partly to take over land, but the Fulani may be coming under Boko Haram influence. In the central Plateau State, which is predominantly Christian, thousands of Christians have died, homes have been burned and hundreds of churches have been destroyed.

Church in Chains in Action

Church in Chains has met the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland to raise concerns about the lack of government action to protect Christians in northern Nigeria and has sent aid to support victims of attacks on Christian villages.

Sub-Saharan Africa

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Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

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