Christians in Nigeria are facing a “strategic modern-day jihad” and a “deliberate plan to destroy and take over the predominantly Christian communities in the region,” according to The Christian Post. While violence and attacks against Christians in Nigeria have been commonplace for years, the intensity seems to be heightening. In fact, Nigeria has moved up two spots to No. 12 on the 2019 World Watch List from Open Doors USA.
“Violence in Nigeria, where The Tide ministry has worked for a decade, has certainly increased, and it seems as though religious animosity is only becoming stronger,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk. “With so many different people groups in one country, Nigeria has always had some underlying ethnic tensions, but we hear from our partners on the ground that radical groups are fueling those tensions to foster an anti-Christian environment where believers are attacked and persecuted for their faith in Jesus.”
The Tide ministry has been sharing Gospel programming since 1946 and today operates in eight countries on three continents while sharing the hope of Christ in 25 languages. Four of the nations where The Tide ministry works—India, Nigeria, Nepal and Bhutan—made the World Watch List for high levels of Christian persecution.
According to Open Doors, attacks have “claimed the lives of hundreds of believers … and scores of villages and churches were burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens.” Persecution in Nigeria is classified as “very high.” With a population of almost 115 million, The Tide ministry reports, Nigeria is incredibly diverse, with more than 470 different languages spoken in this African nation. Because of these many languages, most Nigerians don’t have the opportunity to hear about Jesus in their own tongue.
In 2009, The Tide ministry began broadcasting in Nigeria using the Efik language, and since then has been steadily adding programs in more languages. Currently, The Tide ministry offers programming in 11 Nigerian languages that have the potential to be heard by millions of people who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. An important aspect of The Tide ministry in Nigeria is the “Radios for Nigeria” project. Although the country is rich in agricultural land, mineral resources and oil reserves, a third of the population lives below the poverty line and are too poor to buy a radio.
“As people give toward this project, The Tide ministry places radios in villages throughout Nigeria,” Shenk said. “Most of these radios are being given to village leaders or the heads of extended families, and through them, many are now hearing the Gospel message in their own language and responding positively to God’s offer of salvation.”
Udofia, a listener in Nigeria, shared this testimony with The Tide ministry:
“If it was not for your Efik radio program, I would not be a Christian now,” he said. “I started listening to the program when I was seeking answers and found them in your ministry and preaching of various messages. Your programs make the word come alive as it should. Thank you for your faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His Gospel.”
Header image: Villagers stood at a mass grave in Dogon Na Hauwa, Nigeria, in 2010. | (Photo: Reuters/Credit Akintunde Akinleye). From ChristianPost.com