Tough times for Christians in Nigeria

Jacob Edehomo

Jacob Edehomo: A hounded evangelist

By Funminiyi Badmus

Nigeria is one of the most difficult places to be a Christian in the contemporary world.

This above assertion is an excerpt borrowed from the Global Analysis of Christian Persecution in Nigeria, by Babatomiwa Owojaiye.

The reason for hostility against the Christians and Christianity in Nigeria is what no one can explain. The Christians in Northern Nigeria can no longer exercise their fundamental human right to practice a religion of their choice without being attacked, killed, or abducted by either the Boko Haram sect, Fulani herders, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) etc., in the name of religion.

Extra-judicial killings of innocent citizens and wanton destruction of churches, schools and private properties have become daily incidents. The Nigerian government always claims to be on top of the situation but the reality on the ground says otherwise.

Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria
Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria

Nigeria and of course the Continent of Africa has become an unsafe place to be. There is nowhere in Africa that any Christian fleeing from a religious attack can take as a haven because of the kind of network of these terrorist groups.

Reading this work refreshed my memory of a certain young preacher named Jacob Edehomo and his beautiful Indian wife who narrated his ordeal to me from his hideout at a military base in Lagos.

Jacob, a very vibrant preacher of the word of God, moved from village to village in Northern Nigeria with a determination to take the word of God to the downtrodden.

According to him, his message was a remarkably simple one from the book of John 3:16 “The love of God to the humanity”. He told me that the move of the Holy Spirit brought many of them out of the Islamic occult to embrace Jesus Christ. When the religious extremists saw the wave of the spirit of God and the zeal of the young men and women to follow Jesus Christ, anger and envy arose amongst their community leaders.

According to him, on the fateful 9th of December 2016, he was in the marketplace going about the gospel business in a town called Madagali in Adamawa State when he narrowly escaped death from the suicide bombing of two young girls. He stated that one of the young suicide bombers was advancing towards him with a shout “Pastor please help me” and two of his assistants who had earlier converted to Christianity from Islam suddenly stopped her and they all died in the attack.

He said that fear gripped him, and his heart sunk to his stomach like he had never experienced before. He said that the attack sent him to his home in Ekpoma, Edo State. When he got to his hometown, his father and twin brother who were witch doctors teamed up with others against him to banish him from the community.

Jacob Edehomo and his wife: Hounded in Nigeria
Jacob and his wife

Amid the troubles from his father, brother, and other witch doctors, one of his aunts named Margaret Udiamehiwho who had always supported his course asked him and his wife to come and live with her in her house. He said his aunt gave him a piece of land to make a farm beside her own.

“On 21st June 2017, I went out early in the morning for street evangelism as I have always done before going to the farm. On this very day, I could not make it to the farm because I needed to pray for someone at the hospital. When I finished at the hospital, I headed for home. But when my aunt did not return home in the evening, I became disturbed and raised the alarm. We continued the search for her until she was found beheaded the next day,” Jacob sobbed as he recounted the ordeal.

He said he was very sure that people were giving information about him, and that those killers came for him, not his aunt. She was just a victim of circumstance. It was at that point, according to him, that he realized he needed to leave the shores of Africa for the safety of his life and family.

I remember trying to convince the young man that Nigeria would be better, and he asked me: “When will that be, in a country where a Christian life is worth nothing?”

The last thing he told me was that the soldier hiding him within the barrack did not want anyone to know about him. And he said to me, “I would prefer the Mediterranean Sea to consume me than my blood to be spilt by the terrorist.”

I never had a grasp of what he was telling me until I read all that Babatomiwa Owojaiye enumerated about the killings and lackadaisical attitude of Nigerian leadership.

Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder waiting to explode someday.

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