Bulus*, 32, is in prison in Nigeria. His family had him arrested when they found out he was a Christian pastor. Now he’s waiting in an overcrowded cell to have his case heard, but it could be up to ten years before things progress.
Bulus is Fulani, a traditionally nomadic Muslim people in northern Nigeria. When his family discovered that he was not only a Christian but also a pastor they had him thrown in prison. “Before I could leave, relatives trapped me and started beating me,” said Bulus. “I thought I was going to die, but they dragged me to the police station and accused me of stealing some of their goats. Despite the fact that there was no proof, the police locked me up. Five days later they took me to court. I did not have the opportunity to defend myself but I was kept in prison anyway.”
Open Doors has provided funds for a lawyer to defend Bulus’ case. As an ex-Muslim there is pressure to have Bulus tried in Sharia court. Open Doors appointed lawyers is working to have the case heard in a secular court.
Nigeria is notorious for its broken justice system. Police can arrest people on a whim. Brutality and corruption are common. Cells are overcrowded such that each night is a battle to find enough space on the floor to lie down and sleep. Those who have been arrested can wait years to be convicted of any crime. While each year hundreds of prisoners die in the process from neglect or mistreatment.
Bulus knows that the end of this ordeal is still a long way off and he isn’t allowing himself any false hope of a speedy release. Instead he is using his imprisonment as an opportunity to share what he learnt at theological college. He said, “I decided to use my time in prison to preach the gospel. Many people don’t like it, but I continue anyway. I have received hope and strength from God to keep doing the work which He has called me to.”
His fellow prisoners regularly come to him for advice and prayer. One warden said, “Bulus is different. He seems at peace even when he faces difficulties.”
*Name changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.