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Statement about attacks on Nigerian churches

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit's statement expressing dismay over attacks on Nigerian churches.

05 November 2014

The WCC has learned with dismay that on October 29 the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and Kulp Bible College, which are located in the village of Kwarhi, as well as churches in the nearby town of Mubi in Borno State, north-east Nigeria, were attacked and seized by elements linked to Boko Haram. In the course of the attack there was substantial loss of life, and many local people have fled. We have heard that several thousands of people have travelled to the Cameroon border, seeking refuge from the violence. They have immediate needs for food, shelter, medication and clothes. Our partner organization, the Christian Council of Nigeria, is working with others to try and respond to this need.

We want to offer our support and solidarity to the whole people of Nigeria, and its government. It is vital that the government take immediate and proactive steps to protect all the people of Nigeria and work strategically to defend them against such attacks, as well as supporting practically those who have recently experienced these atrocities. We continue to draw the world’s attention to the fact that, in spite of some recent news reports, the 200 plus school girls who were abducted six months ago in northern Nigeria are still held captive. We believe this to be totally unacceptable. We call upon the government to continue to work for their well-being and speedy release.

We are aware that the forthcoming elections mean that there are many important issues to be addressed.  But at this time the security of the Nigerian people must continue to have the government’s full attention and highest priority.

I was particularly concerned and moved to read the statement made by Dr Samuel Dante Dali, the President of EYN, and I want to draw it to the attention of our member churches internationally: “We need urgent help from the international community if the global community can have compassion on us… The future of Nigeria is getting darker and darker day by day, but Nigerian political leadership do not seem to take the suffering of the people very seriously. The government of Nigeria with all its security seems very weak and helpless in handling the crisis.”

I invite my fellow Christians throughout the world and all people of good will to hold in prayer the people of Nigeria.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary