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Five things about Nigeria you might not know…

October 2, 2014

2014 has not been a good year for Christians in Northern Nigeria. You’ll probably now be familiar with the militant group Boko Haram and their kidnapping of nearly 200 schoolgirls from Chibok. But the story doesn’t end there – here’s a few facts about Nigeria that you might not know.

1. Over half the population are Christians

However, most of these Christians live in the south; Christians are in the minority in northern Nigeria. Islam has dominated the north of the country since the 1800s.

2. Islamic law has been imposed in 12 of the northern states

Nigeria is a secular nation, so this is controversial. In the article Islam: Governing Under Sharia, the Council of Foreign Relations says, “Some interpretations [of Sharia] are used to justify cruel punishments such as amputation and stoning, as well as unequal treatment of women in inheritance, dress, and independence. The debate is growing as to whether Sharia can coexist with secularism, democracy, or even modernity.”

3. Boko Haram aren’t alone in attacking Christians

In Kaduna state, Christian villages are regularly attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, who often target women and children. At the end of June one of their attacks killed an estimated 123 people.

As well as violence, Christians face social pressures

Young Christians aren’t always able to access secondary school or higher education. Some have been told to deny their faith before they will be given a job. Christian communities are often unattended by the government, leaving them without basic facilities such as clean water, clinics and roads.

5. People still want to talk about Jesus

Amazingly, many congregations in northern Nigeria are still reaching out to Muslims in innovative ways and seeing a steady stream of Muslims coming to Christ.

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