Boko Haram and radicalized Fulani killed dozens of Christians in northern and central Nigeria this month. Christmas is just another time for jihadist slaughter. In jihad there is nothing like the iconic WWI British/German Christmas truce. Jihadists never halt persecution and slaughter so Christians can celebrate the birth of Jesus! What is amazing is the uncrushable faith of the persecuted. One woman declared in the wake of the Boko Haram attack, “The victory belongs to our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Morning Star News, December 27, reported that Boko Haram killed seven Christians in Borno State on Christmas Eve. The jihadists also killed two others in Adamawa State. There were just the latest attacks of many against Christians throughout 2020. Earlier in the month, Fulani jihadists killed some 33 Christians and displaced 2500 others in Kaduna State. And at the end of November, a Boko Haram massacre in Borno State left over 100 people slaughtered and dozens more missing.

Morning Star News reported that the Christmas Eve attack by Boko Haram in Borno State was against two predominantly Christian towns, Pemi and Debro. The attack began at approximately 6PM according to area residents. Attackers destroyed the EYN (Church of the Brethren) and stole food from many houses before burning about 10 houses in Pemi, they reported. Pemi is about 20 kilometers from Chibok town, infamous for Boko Haram’s 2014 abduction of some 276 schoolgirls. In addition to the killings, the jihadists abducted seven other Christians, including a pastor. This attack continued for three hours before the Nigerian Army finally arrived.

Boko Haram also attacked Garkida in Adamawa State at the same time on Christmas Eve. They were driven out by the Nigerian Army as residents fled from their homes into the bush. But the governor of Adamawa State told Morning Star News that they had killed two people, including a five-year-old boy, before the Army chased them out.

One of the Christians from Garkida, Markus Bulus, wrote a Christmas Day text that was shared by Morning Star News:

‘Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed,’ Bulu said. ‘Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.’

Fulani jihadists were not to be outdone in bloodthirstiness. They are still delusionally referred to as “herdsmen” by western foreign policy elites and deep in the recesses of the State Department. Sure, herdsmen that shoulder RPG’s and other weapons while they drive through the burning remains of Christian “farmers’” houses shouting Allahu Akbar.

These Fulani killed Christians in three counties across southern Kaduna State, according to Morning Star News sources. In one community, an entire family was wiped out, except for a 16 year-old son who is hospitalized with gunshot wounds. In other towns, Christians were killed, and their houses and churches were burned. Some were killed while trying to escape being kidnapped by the Fulani, according to the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna, the Most Reverend Ali Buba Lamido.

The genocidal level of persecution of Christians in Nigeria was reported in January to the U.N. Security Council by Christian Solidarity International and in a report to the International Criminal Court by Jubilee Campaign USA. In spite of this horror, this Church of martyrs and living martyrs has the hope found only in Jesus. And also in spite of the persecution, the Church continues to grow.

In a Christmas post on the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion website, Ven. John Hassan writes:

The hope for the persecuted Church in Nigeria is the profound peace and assurance we have in Christ and in Him alone. Not in governments or vain political promises. Not in security organs whose integrity to provide and ensure peace is questionable nor in vain words of men, but ‘in Christ alone is our hope anchored.

Sadly, and to the shame of the rest of the world, the persecuted church in Nigeria (and elsewhere!) has been abandoned by governments and let down by “vain political promises.” While we have seen some good signs in American foreign policy, such as the State Department’s recent designation of Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern, little has been done to stop the violence of Christians so far.

The security organs of Nigeria have not protected the Christians as they should. The most recent example of their shameful dereliction of duty was demonstrated in that Christmas Eve attack mentioned above, in which they waited three hours to stop Boko Haram.

It is no wonder that amongst many Christians in Nigeria, the favorite hymn is the Getty/Townend anthem “In Christ Alone!” As I wrote in a GAFCON (Global Anglican Future) email recently, “most of us don’t have the personal, up-close experience with the line (in that hymn): No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from HIS hand as do our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and many other countries throughout the Suffering Church.

Nigerian Christians find “in Christ alone my hope is found.” But that does not relieve us, their brothers and sisters in the free (relatively) world, of the mandate we have to do everything we can to help them. As part of the one Body of Christ around the world, we are accountable to God for being a voice of advocacy, interceding in prayer, and aiding them in their need. As we enter 2021 let us show our love for our Nigerian brothers and sisters in every way God directs us.

Faith McDonnell on December 30, 2020

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Nigeria Christmas Sorrow and Hope

The Christmas Gift

As we reflect on Christmas this year, it is difficult to rise our feelings; worries, anxieties, pains and tragedies the year 2020 dropped on us right from the moment the Corona Pandemic crept to into almost every corner of our communities and our lives.

Sharing a thought from Michael Ramsden, who has traveled the globe and spoken to thousands of people in challenging times, noted that “more than ever, peace and goodwill are in short supply. Yet peace and goodwill are precisely what are needed right now. Christ’s promise of peace did not come accompanied with new political resolutions, promises to do better or try harder, or even a sustained media campaign. The birth in a stable could hardly have had more humble origins; yet that promise, contained within a wooden manger, and fulfilled on a wooden cross, offers the only chance of lasting peace we have.”

The hope for the persecuted Church in Nigeria is the profound peace and assurance we have in Christ and in Him alone. Not in governments or vain political promises. Not in security organs whose integrity to provide and ensure peace is questionable nor in vain words of men, but ‘in Christ alone is our hope anchored.

The gift of God in the little boy laying in a manger, the boy who is to be king, the gift that is for generations and for eternity, is available to us all given without any preconditions. And to all who believe Him and who receive Him, He has given the power and special privilege to be come the sons of the living God.

This gift for all mankind is our only sure way to the peace God gives which no man, no matter how highly placed or influential or powerful can ever give. Only God alone can and He has done that through Jesus Christ.

To the Persecuted Church, Primate Henry Ndukuba says, “trust in the Lord always and lean not on any man. Man is not God.” When we depend on Christ we will never be disappointed.

Ven Hassan John, Archdeacon of Jos on Church of Nigeria website

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The Christmas gift