Nigeria Update – Violence
July 14, 2021 – Summary / Update
The first missionaries to Nigeria from the Netherlands Reformed Churches in Holland went to Igede in 1963 and then later to Izzi in Ebonyi state. The Nigeria Reformed Synod was formed in 1988 as an independent body of congregations and continues to establish churches and send out evangelists to proclaim God’s Word. There are now 22 congregations and many more preaching stations. In the early morning hours of May 30, 2021, Fulani herdsmen attacked four villages and surrounding areas in Izzi resulting in many deaths, injuries, and lost property. The Nigeria Reformed churches were able to reach out to the victims of this violence and have so far assisted 886 people with emergency food aid in the form of vouchers. Though the government paid for much of the injured persons’ medical care, the church also covered medical expenses for 10 people and pharmaceutical costs for a number of others. In addition, four children received tuition assistance. The needs assessment and aid distribution was coordinated by a synod-appointed committee of pastors and church members who traveled in groups of seven to the villages and spent 4 days meeting with victims and their families to determine what could be done. The committee members were also able to spend time counseling victims and providing pastoral care. It is likely that another 250 people will need emergency food assistance very soon and additional children will require education support. In addition, many homes have been destroyed and rebuilding permanent dwellings will be part of a future phase of assistance. The compassionate concern and care that was shown to the people in these villages led many of them to remark on how surprised they were that the churches were unconditionally ministering to ALL of the victims, not just church members. We pray that this faithful and selfless witness of the church and the sharing of God’s Word will be used to the salvation of many.
June 18, 2021 – Update
Last weekend, a team of church leaders in Nigeria visited the villages in Izzi that were recently attacked by Fulani herdsmen. These church leaders reported that they were able to meet many of the victims personally and share God’s Word with them. They also reported on the devastation left behind – homes burned to the ground, small children who are the only survivors in their family, many who are grieving. At least 135 people have died but some are still missing and many more are bereaved, homeless, and unemployed.
The Nigerian Reformed Church is committed to helping both church members and their neighbors through this trial, ministering to both body and soul. They have arranged 3 distributions of food aid to the affected villages which will cover the 6 months until the next harvest season. They continue to assess the number of homes that need to be rebuilt and the children who will need help with school fees in order to continue with their education. They will also continue to offer spiritual and trauma counseling. The government has agreed to cover most of the medical bills for those who were injured. Word & Deed will continue to work with the Board of Special Needs in the Netherlands to support the church as they seek to bring gospel light to this dark situation. Please continue to pray that God’s Word would go out with power, comfort and conviction in Nigeria.
June 7, 2021 – Update
On Sunday, May 30 a band of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria attacked villages near Izzi in Benue State where there are several churches associated with the Nigerian Reformed Church, a Word & Deed partner ministry. The death toll currently stands at 136 people with many others injured and homeless. The attackers burned down homes and businesses in these villages, leaving many of the survivors with nothing.
The synod of the Nigerian Reformed Church has requested help for about 675 people in three phases, the first phase being the provision of food, clothing, and medical care. The second phase will focus on education support for children who have lost parents in the violence and the third phase will assist in rebuilding homes for those left homeless. The Board of Special Needs in the Netherlands will provide the relief funds for most of phase 1 with Word & Deed providing a small amount for phase 1 but anticipating a larger role in assisting with phases 2 and 3.
If you wish to give toward this relief effort, please designate your gift as “Nigeria Relief” in the memo line. Please remember the impacted families of the churches in Nigeria in your prayers as they seek to comfort and counsel one another with the Word of God.
Villagers Fleeing the Violence
A child receiving treatment (photo courtesy of BZN)