|Federal Republic of Nigeria|
|August 30-September 2|
Area 923,768 sq.km. Mangrove and tropical rain forests in the south, savannah and grasslands in the north. The country is drained by the Niger-Benue river systems.
Africa's most populous nation. Census figures have in the past been manipulated for religious or political advantage by the ruling Muslim elite. The figures of the 1991 census have been widely accepted.
Capital Abuja 500,000. Other major cities: Lagos 5 mill.; Ibadan 1.7m; Kano 1.5m; Port Harcourt 1.2m; Kaduna 1m; Enugu 900,000; Jos 650,000. Urbanites 44%. Neglect of agriculture has accelerated urban migration.
Over 490 ethnic groups. The triangular rivalry between the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo have dominated Nigerian politics since independence.
Guinean 49.5%. Mainly across south and centre. Over 70 peoples, mostly Christian, some Muslim. Yoruba 20.3mill.; Igbo (Ibo) 19.9m; Edo 1.1m; Nupe 1.1m; Ijaw(4) 970,000; Igala 891,000; Idoma(4) 800,000; Igbirra 660,000; Urhobo 608,000; Isekiri 557,000; Isoko 423,000; Gbari 409,000; Esan 357,000; Izi 357,000; Ewe 340,000; Ezaa 322,000.
Hausa-Chadic 20.6%. Mainly in north. Though over 25% of all people speak Hausa, many who embrace Islam switch to Hausa. Over 100 peoples, majority are Muslim. Hausa 23m.
Bantoid peoples 12%. Mainly south-west and centre. Mainly Christian, over 200 peoples, largest: Ibibio 3.6m; Tiv 2.8m; Anaang 1m; Kaje 307,000.
Fulbe (Fulani) 11.1%. Mainly in north; many speaking Hausa, largely Muslim. Total 12.3m in 7 groups.
Kanuri 3.2%. Three peoples; total 3.6m. Muslim.
Sudanic 1.2%. Mainly north-east, mainly ethnic religions. 50 peoples, largest: Mumuye 536,000; Yungur 108,000; Chamba Daka 78,000.
Other 2.4%. Songhai 300,000; Shuwa Arab 250,000.
Literacy 64%. Official language English. Hausa is widely used in the north and middle belt, Yoruba in the south-west, Igbo in the south-east and Pidgin English all over the south. All languages 470; 96% of the population uses 21 major languages. Languages with Scriptures 16Bi 47NT 87por 46w.i.p.
Rich in agricultural land and mineral resources and large oil reserves. The enormous oil wealth was squandered on prestige projects and embezzled by a series of corrupt rulers. The military dictator Abacha misappropriated an estimated $7 billion during his misrule. It is reckoned that the stolen wealth is about equal to the national debt of $30 billion. Agriculture, transportation, storage systems and the basic economy were neglected. Over 34% of the population live below the poverty line and unemployment is 28%. The new Obasanjo government has instituted stern measures to root out the massive culture of corruption, rectify past errors and diversify the economy. The north is totally dependent on the oil wealth of the south. HDI 0.456; 146th/174. Public debt 68% of GNP. Income/person $280 (0.9% of USA).
Independent from Britain as a federation in 1960. Component states now number 36 with a federal capital area. There are wide differences between the cultures of the feudal and predominantly Muslim north and the entrepreneurial largely Christian south. This and the manipulations of the Muslims to retain political control are the main causes of the turbulent post-independence history of tension, violence, coups and civil war. The sudden death of the brutal Muslim military ruler, Abacha, in 1998 and subsequent democratic elections in 1999, brought Olusegun Obasanjo, a committed Christian, to the Presidency. He has wisely and tactfully moved to bring about change while endeavouring to preserve national unity despite efforts by the former ruling elite to frustrate and discredit his administration.
Constitutionally Nigeria is a secular state with freedom of religion. For nearly 40 years the northern ruling elite gave preferential treatment to Muslims and discriminated against Christians. Little was done to stop persecution of Christians in the north with tragic results of churches burnt and many Christians killed. Since 1999 Muslim state leaders have imposed shari'a law in 8 northern states to the resentment of Christians. NOTE: The claims and counter-claims of Muslims, Christians and individual denominations are impossible to verify and are often inflated. Estimates for Muslims vary between 30 50% and for Christians, 40 60%! Persecution index 36th in the world.
Traditional religions are nearer 13% of the population, and so both Muslims and Christians are correspondingly lower than the above figures indicate.
2 The spirit of prayer among Christians stimulated by the political stresses of the recent past and by Muslim persecution in areas where there is a Muslim majority. Some of the largest prayer meetings in history have been in Nigeria (an estimated 3 million in Lagos). This fervent prayer has been behind all the political change and spiritual growth.
3 The dynamic growth of the Church has been spectacular. This has been among Anglicans, Baptists, evangelical groups such as ECWA and TEKAN with interdenominational roots (SIM, SUM/AP, etc.) and Pentecostal and charismatic denominations (both indigenous and international). A few specifics:
4 Revival among university students in the 1970s (NIFES) has led to dramatic growth and missions vision through such organizations as Deeper Life Bible Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Church of God Mission and many others. The missions vision has blossomed despite economic distress.
1 The unity of Nigeria. The combined effects of ancient tribal hatreds, Muslim conquests, British colonial policy in which the North and South were handled differently and the bitter Biafra war of 1967-70 have left deep scars. Pray for healing and reconciliation.
2 The government needs time, the support of the people and courage to bring about the painful reconstruction of the country after four decades of being plundered by its leaders. Pray for the right balance between tact and firmness and between revolution and evolution in economic affairs, vested interests and tribalism.
3 The introduction of shari'a law in northern Muslim states is a direct challenge to the federal government and a danger to national stability. Pray with Nigerian Christians for the preservation of national unity, the integrity of the federal constitution and for full religious freedom.
4 The culture of greed and corruption runs deep. Nigeria has become infamous for spectacular international scams, international crime and drug-running. Pray that God may raise up many more who fear Him and have the moral integrity and courage to tackle the rottenness manifest in society. Pray that Christian values and lifestyle may affect every area of national life and that Nigeria attain its potential as a light to the world for God.
a) Widespread evangelism unaccompanied by follow-up and balanced teaching. Numerous doctrinal distortions (lack of preaching Christ and salvation by grace alone), an over-emphasis on material prosperity, undue stress on certain spiritual gifts and unethical fundraising are bringing dissension to the Body of Christ.
b) Divisions. A profusion of competing denominations and sects has emerged. There are too many one-man ministries with little accountability to the Body of Christ. Pray that the pride, carnality and tribalism underlying this may be replaced with humility, simplicity of lifestyle and holiness.
c) Second-generation nominalism in both traditional and younger churches is becoming a big problem. Double standards are widespread, and immorality, membership of secret societies and compromise with the world bring strife and disrepute for the gospel.
d) Syncretistic Christianity. Many indigenous groups have sprung up with a desire for God, but with much admixture of unbiblical world-views and practices. Many are open to greater gospel light but are often isolated from, or shunned by, more orthodox churches. A number of large Pentecostal denominations are also showing syncretistic tendencies.
6 Christian leaders are under great stress in today's Nigeria economic and political pressure, but also for those in the north, real dangers from Muslim extremists. Many have an internationally significant ministry. Pray for:
b) The 160+ seminaries and Bible schools in Nigeria and a growing number of missions training schools. There are also a number of TEE courses. Churches and ministries need to team up more together to avoid duplication of effort in training. Six evangelical seminaries offer postgraduate degrees. Nigeria is one of the continental bases for the Accreditation Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) which is a vital instrument for improving theological education all over Africa. The major lack is for more non-denominational Bible schools geared to give biblical training to founders and pastors of independent groups.
c) Mentor leaders to be raised up. One-man ministries, dictatorial leadership, empire-building and unwillingness to delegate responsibility to the upcoming generation are common weaknesses. The gap between older and younger pastors is often large.
d) Improved cooperation and fellowship across denominational boundaries. Pray for evangelical bodies such as the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and the Nigeria Evangelical Fellowship as well as those representing a wider spectrum CAN and the Christian Council of Nigeria.
7 Persecution in Nigeria's northern states between 1991 and 2000 led to the death of thousands of believers, murder of pastors and destruction of hundreds of churches in Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Kano, Bauchi, etc. This has united Christians as never before, but also driven them to the Lord in prayer. Pray for:
a) Secondary schools. SU in the south and FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) in the north have had a big impact through a network of groups in many schools. There is considerable opposition and trials in the three northern regions, yet a great harvest is being won. Pray that Christian teachers, advisors and student leaders may be encouraged and strengthened.
b) Universities and colleges. NIFES (Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students), the largest member body of IFES, has over 35,000 members on 400 campuses with their largest groups in the south, though the growth of denominational campus ministries has somewhat diluted their impact. NIFES asks for prayer for their inductive Bible Study programme and its leaders as students learn to dig out biblical truths and discern error. FCS is stronger in the North Central region and has 351 groups involving 145,000 post-secondary students. They have successfully mobilized outreach into secondary and, more recently, into primary schools. Their impact on non-Christians has been significant, with many Muslim students being won to Jesus. Apathy, discouragement and violent cults have all been problems on campuses. Pray that the national executive and campus leaders may give both vision for evangelism and missions, and spiritual depth based on sound teaching to the members. Pray also that Christian graduates may maintain the vision, contribute more actively to the life of local churches, and be willing to go into full-time pastoral or missionary service.
c) The upper and business class. The Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, Pan-Africa Christian Women's Alliance, Nigerian Women for Christ, the newly-formed Covenant Keepers (a ministry to men) and others, exert influence in much of the country. Pray that Christians may win many influential people to Christ and that the whole nation may be thereby uplifted.
a) Significant research by Calvary Ministries, AoG and the Nigerian Baptist Convention has focused the attention of churches and agencies on the unreached. Nearly every one of Nigeria's 168 less-reached peoples have been adopted for prayer and outreach. Yet there still lacks a full survey of Nigeria's harvest force and mechanisms for cooperative outreach. The Searchlight project launched in 1991 to undertake this research needs new impetus and support.
b) The AD2000 and Beyond Movement had a significant impact in bringing together denominations and agencies during the 1990s. Some bold plans for advancement were set and many were mobilized for church growth and for church planting among the unreached. Coordination of, and adequate preparation for, multiplied outreaches and ministries is often lacking.
a) The African Indigenous 'spiritual' churches have multiplied especially those related to the Aladura, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church and the Christ Apostolic Church. Some are highly syncretistic, others marginal in theology, and still others of varying degrees of orthodoxy. Pray that their leadership may be rightly helped by other Christians, and biblical theology and practices adopted.
b) Young people and schools ministry. Legally, religious education should be given to all in schools. Christian religious knowledge teachers only number about 15,000. They have great opportunity, but limited resources. With help from the International Institute for Christian Studies, government sponsored in-service training and manuals are giving them fresh impetus. CEF reaches 50,000 monthly in Good News Clubs. CEM, an indigenous agency, has a significant Christian camping ministry.
c) The AIDS crisis. Official estimates for 1999 indicated 5% of the population (2.4m) were carrying the virus. The actual figure may be nearer 7 8%. There are an estimated 1.4 million AIDS orphans. SU's Aid for AIDS and 'How to Live God's Way' programmes are impacting youth. Churches need to be mobilized to minister to those affected.
d) Nigeria's unreached. Intense research over the 1990s has revealed that 168 peoples are inadequately reached through lack of resident workers, indigenous churches, Bible translation, etc. Of these, 45 have no church and 34 have no known believers. Pray that those agencies and churches that have adopted them for ministry may carry through that commitment to a successful conclusion.
e) Nigeria's Muslims. Many have become more open to the gospel despite Nigeria's religious tensions. Thousands have come to Christ, but many face death threats, discrimination and ostracism. Pray for wise and effective methods of witness. Powerful Christian literature for Muslims is now being published.
f) Refugees. Conflicts across West Africa have brought Chadians, Sierra Leonans, Liberians, etc., to Nigeria. Pray that the unconverted may be reached and the believers among them activated and trained for ministry to their compatriots.
g) Development ministries for the rural poor. Poverty has prompted many Nigerian churches to establish departments of health and rural development. RURCON and its local subsidiary, CRUDAN, provide consultation and training. Pray for effective holism in ministry in the Church.
11 Mission vision. Nigeria has become one of the major missionary-sending countries of the developing world. The stimulus of Lausanne 1974 and the Nigeria Congress on Evangelization 1975, as well as the founding of the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA), and the AD2000 and Beyond Movement in the 1990s, have helped to push this vision. Pray for:
b) Denominational agencies with a strong missions programme. The Evangelical Missionary Society of ECWA has by far the largest number of cross-cultural missionaries (1,400 in 1996). The Deeper Life Bible Church and the Living Faith Church have sent out missionaries to over 45 nations. The AoG, Baptists, Churches of Christ in Nigeria (TEKAN) and others also have strong missionary sending programmes. Pray that other denominations may catch the vision.
c) Interdenominational agencies have multiplied such as Calvary Ministries (300 workers), Christian Missionary Foundation (226), His Grace Evangelical Movement (29), Full Stature Missions (24), and others. Pray for the defining and clarifying of long-term goals.
d) Missionary support. Few congregations really understand their responsibility to support mission agencies by praying, giving and going. Pray for Nigerian support agencies which seek to address this problem and act as a bridge between churches and missionaries on the fields. There are about 600 Nigerian missionaries serving in other lands, mainly in West Africa, where they face difficulties in receiving funds to provide for their material needs and educate their children.
12 Expatriate missionaries have steadily declined in numbers as the large and mature Nigerian Church takes on the ministries they once did. Pray for harmonious cooperation between foreign and indigenous agencies and churches. Key ministries for expatriates include Bible teaching and leadership training, teaching Bible knowledge in schools, a wide range of supportive and aid ministries, and training Nigerian missionaries. Pray for the safety, health and effectiveness of the missionary force each of these factors has become even more of a spiritual battleground in today's Nigeria. Some of the larger agencies are SIM (106 workers), IMB-SBC (95), AP (52), CRWM (43), QIF (15), CMS (16).
b) Publishing. Christian publishers such as ECWA Productions, TEKAN Publications, Baraka Publications, Calvary Ministries Media Services and SU publish books, magazines, Sunday School materials and Bible-reading notes, but all face frustrating limitations because of the economic situation and need prayer.
c) Distribution. Although there are well over 300 Christian bookstores in Nigeria, turn-over and stock range are severely limited by the price and lack of foreign exchange. Major distribution agencies are the 18 Challenge Bookstores (ECWA), and 30 bookstores affiliated with TEKAN and SU.
a) Bible translation remains a major challenge. The Bible Society of Nigeria together with the Nigeria Bible Translation Trust and other denominations and agencies have made much progress since 1966, with Bibles completed in a further 7 languages, NTs in 35 and portions in 56. Of the 379 languages without the Scriptures, projects are under way in 45, but a further 54 have a proven translation need.
b) Christian radio. Over 85% of the population has a shortwave radio receiver, and even more have access to FM. Both local and international radio broadcasts are used by Christians. Pray for all unreasonable restrictions to be lifted for local radio. TWR broadcasts 3.5 hrs/wk in Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri and Nupe languages of 4 of Nigeria's largest and least evangelized peoples.
c) Christian television. Television is used by many Christian groups, but creative and diverse programming is a great need. NLFA, ELWA, Baptist Media and Muryar Bishara, all have studios. There is a need for greater cooperation between groups to cut high costs.
d) The JESUS film has been extensively used in 19 languages. An amazing 142 other language editions are in production. ECWA and Baptist media have produced other films and filmstrips; pray these tools may be used effectively.
Three main regions emerged as a result of colonial policy. The British retained the pre-colonial Hausa-Fulani Muslim feudal rulers of the north and allowed them to extend their rule over the peoples of the Middle Belt, few of whom were Muslim at that time. The South developed a more western system of government. Between 1967 and 1995 the number of states was increased from 12 to 36, plus a Federal Capital Territory. These states are clustered in 6 political zones: SE, SS, SW, NCentral, NE and NW, but here they are grouped broadly in the 3 major regions of Nigeria.
Area 29,525 sq.km. 5 states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo.
Major peoples Igbo, Ibibio.
Christian 80%; Muslim 5%; Traditional 15%.
Area 84,587 sq.km. 6 states: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Rivers.
Ijaw, Isekiri, Isoko, Urhobo.
Christian 75%; Muslim 5%; Traditional 20%.
Area 78,771 sq.km. 6 states: Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo.
Christian 70%; Muslim 20%; Traditional 10%.
a) Christian-Muslim relations have soured since 1995. The shari'a law issue and subsequent violence against Christians in northern states created violent backlashes against Muslim minorities in southern cities. Pray for Christian values to prevail.
b) Oil wealth derived from the south-east has been spent elsewhere. Local peoples have suffered severe pollution, degradation of the environment and have received little compensation or investment in return. The situation in Ogoni-land has been particularly bad. Pray for justice and the light of Christ to shine into the situation.
2 The SW was pioneered by Anglicans, Methodists and Southern Baptists and the SS and SE by Presbyterians, Catholics, QIF and others in. Christians are in the great majority. Pentecostal churches are now the predominant influence and the fastest growing ranging from small groups meeting in homes to mega-churches. Rural areas lack dedicated pastors because of the relative poverty. Pray for sacrificial concern among Christians for the less reached and less privileged areas. Pray also for revival to make the Christians into true disciples of Jesus.
b) Muslim groups among Southern peoples. The Yoruba Muslims are influential and make up about 25% of all Yoruba. Muslim missionary efforts and enticements with money and favours have brought pockets of other southern peoples to Islam, including some among the Igbo. Pray for specific outreach to these Muslims.
Area 266,617 sq.km. 7 states: Abuja, Benue, Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau.
Major peoples No dominant group, but a medley of over 230 languages, most using Hausa as a trade language. Largest: Edo, Esan, Gbari, Idoma, Igala, Igbirra, Nupe, Tiv.
Christian 55%; Muslim 30%; Traditional 15%.
1 Dramatic church growth over the past 40 years. The New Life for All movement was highly successful in the 1960s and 1970s. Major denominations are ECWA, Anglican, Baptist, the TEKAN family of churches and, more recently, various Pentecostal and charismatic churches. Pray for the spiritual growth of believers and also for the conversion of the younger generation evangelical nominalism is a major problem. Pray for revival and a vision for cross-cultural outreach present growth is not revival.
2 Muslim missionary activity has intensified in the region. Considerable efforts are made to win over followers of ethnic religions and backsliding Christians. Pray that these attempts may be frustrated by conversions to Christ. Pray that Christians may overcome historic hatreds and personal fears for courageous witnessing to Muslims in love.
3 Less-reached peoples. There are still 60 70 peoples in the region who have shown only a small response. This is changing with increased Nigerian research and missionary outreach. There are two main areas of particular need:
a) Plateau State. Many peoples have turned to the Lord, but some are more resistant, such as the predominantly traditionalist Mada (105,000), and the nominally Catholic/traditionalist Goemai (278,000) and Ingwe (47,000).
b) Along the Niger River and Benin border where there are numerous unreached and partially-reached peoples. Pray for the Muslim Nupe, traditionalist Kambari (75,000), Gbari Yamma (40,000), Dukawa (97,000), Busa (45,000) and Kamuku (30,000). Some of the Dukawa and sections of the Kambari are now turning to Islam. Only a handful of Christian workers are attempting to reach them (UMCA, CMF, CM, CRWM, LCCN, EMS-ECWA).
Area 272,395 sq.km. 6 states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Katsina, Taraba, Yobe.
Major peoples Kanuri, Fulani, Bachama.
Muslim 50%; Traditional 30%; Christian 20%.
Area 191,873 sq.km. 6 states: Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara.
Major peoples Hausa, Fulani.
Muslim 67%; Traditional 20%; Christian 13%.
a) The proclamation of shari'a law in many northern states (8 by March 2001) has precipitated Nigeria into a constitutional crisis and directly challenged the federal government. Pray for a wise defusing of this explosive situation.
b) Shari'a law has also led to restrictions on church buildings, banning of Christian religious education in state schools, communal violence, destruction of many churches and loss of life especially of Christians. Christians have been automatically degraded to become second-class citizens. Pray that Christians may respond with meekness and love and win the right to testify about Christ.
2 The gospel has made progress since independence despite considerable opposition from the Muslim rulers. Many smaller non-Muslim peoples are responding to the gospel as have a small, but increasing number of Muslim-majority peoples. Because persecution of Muslim-background believers has often been severe, an underground network of believers is developing. Pray for the protection and growth of this movement.
3 There is a great need for Nigerian missionaries to build on the foundations laid by SIM, SUM/AP missionaries in the past. The Nigerian Church is burdened for this area. Pray for the sending of missionaries who will be well-prepared and effective in such a hostile, dangerous environment.
a) The Fulani (Fulbe) are a strategic people right across Africa and are also black Africa's largest unreached people cluster. Their origins were in Senegal, but their greatest numbers are in Nigeria where 12 million of the 20 million Fulani live. They form both the strongly Muslim ruling class in Nigeria and also the nominally Muslim nomadic cattle grazers over much of Nigeria and the Sahel. Pray that Nigerian and expatriate Christians may catch a vision for their evangelization. Pray that God may give the right strategies for reaching both groups the nomadic cattle people being a particular challenge. About 93% of Nigerian Fulani are Muslim. There has been a growing response through ECWA-SIM and others, and there may now be 5,000 Christians. In 1983 the Joint Christian Ministry in West Africa was formed to specifically coordinate evangelism, literature, radio and training ministries for the Fulani. If the gospel gripped this group, all West Africa would be affected! Many of the urban Fulani speak only Hausa and must be reached through this language.
b) The Hausa are known as Muslims, but maybe 30%, while claiming to be Muslim, actually follow their traditional religions. Among these are the Maguzawa, a people with their own distinctive culture, and among them an exciting turning to Christ is happening. The Isawa, a Hausa Muslim sub-group that gives high honour to Jesus, are responding to the gospel. Pray for large numbers of Hausa to be won for Christ in this day of opportunity.
c) The Kanuri of Borno State are strongly Muslim, and have been so for 1,000 years. There are only a few believers among the 4 million Kanuri after years of witness by TEKAN-SUM/AP, CMF, CM and other Nigerian missions. There are over 70 Nigerian denominations present in Maiduguri, the state capital, but almost all are from southern Borno and other areas of Nigeria. There is no Kanuri church, and though the NT is now published, the key to the hearts of the Kanuri has yet to be found. Pray that the breakthrough may soon come.
d) The Gwoza Hills (Adamawa and Borno). The area has become a spiritual battleground, with some peoples turning from paganism some to Islam and others to Christ. Over 23 peoples live in the area. Pray for those in the heart of this battle such as the Guduf (36,000), Dughwede (42,000) and Marakam (4,000).
e) The mountain regions in the east along the Cameroon border in Taraba and Adamawa States. This is the home of numerous peoples, some scarcely affected by the modern world. Over 50 peoples live in the area, many unreached. Pray especially for pioneer outreach to the Mumuye (500,000), Chamba (150,000), Bata (50,000) and Koma (37,000).
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