By Brenda Hartman-Souder
To walk into Zipporah Moses’ tailoring shop is to enter a swirl of color and activity. Sewing machines hum while Moses and several of her helpers cut and baste the vibrantly patterned fabric used in traditional dress. They measure new customers and serve those who are picking up their orders. All within an 8-by-10 foot space on a busy thoroughfare in Jos, Nigeria.
Methodist Archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen of Ibadan, Nigeria has appealed to Christian and Muslim leaders worldwide to act together in the face of extremist violence that threatens to divide Nigerians along religious lines.
Written by Obed Minchakpu
An ecumenical organization, the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria, said it plans to establish small business and agricultural enterprises that will bring Christians and Muslims together in the troubled north-central part of Nigeria, which seen recent religious conflicts.
Written by Linda Espenshade
Nigerians fear that April elections may spike already increased violence following on the heels of December bombings in the city of Jos and the subsequent killing of more than 200 people in Plateau State, where Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff and most of its program is based.
Plateau State is the area of Nigeria where the predominantly Muslim north meets the predominantly Christian south. Violent conflict in this area dates back to 2001 as the two groups compete for political power and control of land.
For the first time in 34 years, the Christian Association of Nigeria has elected a Pentecostal pastor as its president and he has vowed to fight corruption and religious intolerance.
The Rev. Ayo Oritsejafor, national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, defeated the incumbent CAN president, the Rev. John Onaiyekan of the Roman Catholic Church, by 66 votes to 38 at the national executive committee elections in Abuja on 5 July.
Although it is often portrayed as a religious conflict, the crisis in Nigeria's Central Plateau State is of social and economic nature, the country's foreign minister told church representatives. The church delegation advocated for government action to develop the area and to bring to trial those responsible for an outburst of communal violence last March.
For Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Odein, the country faces "a lot of challenges which are largely misunderstood by the international community".
A World Council of Churches (WCC) Living Letters team has appealed to Nigeria's religious leaders to encourage people belonging to different ethnic and faith groups to take initiatives to promote lasting peace and harmony in violence-affected communities.
It was a deeply moving experience for the Living Letters team visiting Nigeria on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) when they gathered to pray around a mass grave at Dogonahawa, near Jos, in the Central Plateau State on Tuesday. About 323 locals murdered last March have been buried at the site.
In early March 501 people, mostly women and children from two adjacent villages, Dogonahawa and Bukuru, were killed in their sleep during an outburst of communal and ethnic violence.
During a meeting with a Living Letters team visiting Nigeria on behalf of the World Council of Churches, the governor of the Plateau state, Jonah David Jang said that “religion is used to cover up all conflicts, although other factors also exist”. While explaining certain reasons for the conflicts, the governor admitted that “I am a committed Christian. As governor of this state, I am elected by the people and God gave me the mandate to direct the people in the righteous way”.
Thousands of Nigerian women dressed in black and carrying Bibles, wooden crosses, pictures of victims, and branches symbolising peace marched in a central Nigerian state on Thursday to protest the massacre of about 500 villagers, who were mostly women and children.
The women, some with babies strapped on their back, walked from the headquarters of the Evangelical Church of West Africa in the city of Jos to the Plateau State House of Assembly calling for greater investigation into the mass murder of hundreds of people in two predominantly Christian villages near Jos.