Nigeria is in the Southeast of West Africa and is officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The nation got its name from one of the major rivers in the country, the River Niger, following the merger of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. This brought together over 400 ethnic and tribal groups to form the Colony of Nigeria under the British Colonial Government.
Nigeria gained independence from the British empire in 1960 and became a republic in 1963. Shortly after the independence, Nigeria was embroiled in a bitter 30-month civil war from 1967 to 15 January 1970 when the conflict officially ended. This set -in motion successive coups and counter coups that kept Nigeria under military dictatorship for 29 years, except for the brief period between 1979 to 1983. Representative democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 211 million people. It is also the seventh most populated country in the world with an area of 923,768 km2 (approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom). Nigeria is bordered to the north by Niger and Chad; to the west by the Republic of Benin; and to the east by Cameroon. Nigeria shares maritime borders with Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe. English is the official language, while the Naira is the official currency. Abuja is the capital of Nigeria while Lagos is the commercial hub and its largest city, in terms of population.
Nigeria, like most African countries, is blessed with abundant natural resources. It is said that there is hardly any natural resource that Nigeria does not possess in small or large quantities. The nation is also blessed with abundant human resources. Nigeria has a skilled workforce that can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. Most Nigerians who left the country due to economic hardship or repressive regimes are making their marks in the field of science, engineering, technology, medicine and business in the various nations where they now live. th
Christianity first came to Nigeria in the 15 century through Portuguese explorers but could not take root because it was mixed with commerce. The founding of the Church in Nigeria is attributed to Archbishop Ajayi Crowther, a former slave who after he was freed decided to return as a missionary to his people, the Yoruba in Southwestern Nigeria. Subsequent missionary activities by Western missionaries saw the spread of the Gospel from Southern Nigeria to the North and other parts of the country. Today about 50% of Nigerians profess Christianity (both nominal and active). The Nigerian Church is actively engaged in missionary work across the
nations of the world.
There has always been persecution of Christians in Nigeria, but this spiked following the emergence of Boko Haram terrorist group in 2009. Other jihadist groups have also emerged, like the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), militant Fulani Herders etc. Open Doors has described Nigeria as one of the most difficult places to be a Christian in the contemporary world. Nigeria is ranked 7th in the World Watch List among 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.
Sadly, the persecution of Christians in Nigeria is either under-reported or misrepresented by the Western press. When an entire Christian community is razed and the people are massacred, it is often attributed to politics, criminality, banditry, farming disputes, poverty or even climate change. Christians in Northern Nigeria have greatly suffered and paid a huge price for their faith, yet many of them have persevered, determined that the light of the gospel would not be extinguished.
Prayer has been the mainstay of the Nigerian church. Despite the challenges that Nigeria has faced, the church still believes that Nigeria is positioned to play a crucial role in the global harvest of the end times.