In a recent upsurge of violence in Plateau State, Nigeria, atrocities were committed on both sides. It is reported that mobs of nominal Christians attacked and killed Muslims. This happened in retaliation for Muslim attacks on Christian areas, which had led to the loss of lives, churches, homes and businesses.
Nigerian church leaders call for reconciliation but find it increasingly difficult to control the bitter reaction of young people in their communities. Plateau State Christians believe that there is a Hausa Muslim conspiracy to gain political power in what is a majority Christian area. Overreaction by Christians could in turn give excuse for more attacks on Christian churches and their members living as isolated minorities all across the north of Nigeria where the church continues to grow. Nigeria needs much prayer if further violence is to be avoided.
Reporting from Jos, missionary Rev. Sid Garland, Executive Director of Africa Christian Textbooks (ACTS), paid tribute to Evangelist Obida Hildi, who was hacked down and burned to death by his Muslim neighbours.
Garland said: ‘Evangelist Obida was born and brought up in a Muslim family, but in his teens gave his life to Christ and was baptised in 1958. He suffered fierce persecution for his faith and became an outcast as far as his family was concerned. However, he did not allow anything, even childlessness in his marriage, to divert him from following Jesus.
‘He worked hard at peace-keeping in his neighbourhood. He probably continued to trust that his efforts for peace and understanding would prevent him from losing his life. But this time the Muslims, their numbers swollen by immigrants from other states, had prepared for war’.