The Problem

100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus 
The Problem

Nigeria

Leader: President Muhammadu Buhari
How many Christians?: 95.4 million (46.3% of the population)
World Watch List Rank: 9

“God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank you, Open Doors, for being a family and a source of hope to my children and me.”
Martina, Nigerian Christian

The basics

Thousands of Christians have been killed or abducted by Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group who claim to have established a ‘caliphate’ (Islamic state) in northern Nigeria. On a smaller but no less devastating scale, Christians are also the target of Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen, who have destroyed hundreds of churches and killed thousands of Christians. Twelve of the northern states have adopted Islamic law, and Christians are frequently discriminated against in this region, with Christian villages often lacking clean water and health clinics, and Christians being denied access to secondary school and higher education.

Main threats to Christians

  • Islamic oppression

The facts

  • More Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country.
  • Nigeria is generally split between an Islamic north and Christian south.
  • Christians face pressure in the north as 12 states have adopted Islamic law and Christians face discrimination.
  • Violence by militant extremist groups is a key driver of persecution, whether that be from Boko Haram in the north east, or Fulani herdsmen in the middle belt.
  • Christian women and girls are vulnerable to abduction and forced marriage – there have been infamous kidnappings of hundreds of school children from schools in northern states.
  • In 2021 Nigeria has risen several places on the World Watch List, and persecution has worsened in all areas of public and private life.

Where is it?

Pray this

Lord God, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Nigeria facing extreme violence and other forms of persecution. Comfort those who mourn, we pray, and replace their weeping with joy. Heal their trauma and show them who they are in Your eyes. Protect Christian communities from Islamic extremist attacks, and transform the hearts of those who persecute believers so ruthlessly.

S.O. The Rapper tells Deborah’s story…

Amina’s story

Amina* and her family were subject not once but twice to attacks by Boko Haram extremists. Although they bear the scars of their experiences, Amina can sing the words, “By God’s grace, I am alive.”

*Name changed for security reasons

What is it like being a Christian in Nigeria?

Martina’s husband, Pastor Joseph, was brutally murdered by Fulani militants. She was left to look after her four daughters and three sons alone. Many communities in northern Nigeria have also suffered these attacks – men and boys are killed, women and girls are raped, and buildings and possessions are destroyed. Fulani militants leave a terrible wake of trauma and pain behind them, targeting people just because they follow Jesus.

“We had nowhere to go,” remembers Martina. “Our only solution was to move into an incomplete building.”

Open Doors partners were able to help Martina and her children with rebuilding her home, thanks to your gifts and prayers. “At first, I thought I was dreaming, but today it has become a reality,” says Martina. “God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank you, Open Doors, for being a family and a source of hope to my children and me. This house is a ministry that God has given to me, to encourage other widows to hold on to God and not lose hope. He who has used Open Doors to wipe my tears will do the same for them.”

How can I help Christians in Nigeria?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Through local partners and churches, Open Doors strengthens persecuted believers in Nigeria through discipleship, training, persecution survival support, community development projects, emergency relief, and trauma care.

Latest news and articles on Nigeria…

Click the Nigeria tag below for a list of the latest articles and news on the country…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.