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Nigeria: Socially Motivated Violence affects all Christians

Nigeria: Socially Motivated Violence affects all Christians

Bern, 01.02.2012/CD-EUDNews - "No Adventists has lost their lives. No Adventist building has been destroyed," said Pastor Stephen Binda Haruna, president of the church region in Nigeria. “Our church was not hot and we are praying for God's continuous prot

February 01, 2012 | CD-EUDNews; APD-CH; Pictures Adventist Nigeria webs

Bern, 01.02.2012/CD-EUDNews - "No Adventists has lost their lives. No Adventist building has been destroyed," said Pastor Stephen Binda Haruna, president of the church region in Nigeria. “Our church was not hot and we are praying for God's continuous protection,” said a Nigeria’s Adventist officer, “our God is alive and the church is matching on.” 
However, the churches in the Northern parts of the Country have put on security measures like making sure that all bags are searched before being allowed into the church, employing private security with operatives’ men of the churches.
After recurring attacks by the extremist terrorist group "Boko Haram" on Christian homes and churches, however, the property of some church members had been looted or burned.
Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language, spoken in northern Nigeria, means "Western education is sinful", wants to impose the Islamic sharia law across the country. Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people since of its birth. They consider all who do not follow its strict ideology as infidels, whether they are Christians or Muslims. This attitude increases religious intolerance at the expense of a population that wants to live in peace.
The violence between Christians and Muslims has no religious motivations, declared the Roman Catholic Bishops of Nigeria. "It's about the equitable distribution of power, land and oil. The pursuit of theocracy is a religious and violent charge call for justice," said the Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, according to Kathpress. The removal of the 'cheaper-fuel-act' by the Nigerian government had contributed to the violence, says Adventist News Network (ANN). It led to the twofold increase of gasoline prices and nationwide demonstrations.
The Nigerian bishops expressed concern about the "helplessness of the government in dealing with the growing security problem," according to Kathpress. These conflicts cannot be solved by military force alone in a country where 70 percent of the population lives in poor conditions. Thus, it is important to reform the social and educational system.
According to The Guardian, the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asked the religious leaders to speak out clearly against violence. "The leaders of Christian Churches will continue to work for peace, social welfare and preach that Christians do not practice revenge," said t

he writer. "Muslim leaders must condemn violence against Christians, in the strongest way. They have to make it clear that Boko Haram isn't part of the Nigerian Islam" said Adichie.
"We firmly condemn these senseless attacks", declared Seventh-day Adventists Euro-Africa President Bruno Vertallier. "Violence is never the way to solve problems and incomprehension. It causes religious intolerance. All Muslims and Christians share one loving Father. Let us unite in love and peace. Time has come to end all conflicts and wars that destroy the entire human family. We pray for and support the Nigerian population, the Nigerian leadership and all those, who want a prosperous, peaceful, joyful and united Nigeria."
The continuing violence between Christian and Muslim groups in North East Nigeria has led to widespread uncertainty among the people, according to ANN. Many people do not go to church anymore, as a result, many churches have closed.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria has suspended evangelistic events because of the precarious security situation, as church leaders announced. The community members have been encouraged to share their faith in Jesus Christ and to pray and fast in small groups.
Nigeria has some 155 million inhabitants. It is the most populous country in Africa. About half the population professes Islam, especially in the northern part of the country. The percentage of Christians in Nigeria is reported between 40 and 50 percent. The Islamic northern Nigeria is poorer than the Christian south, where the oil is flowing. Already in the 1980s, long before the clashes in central Nigerian city of Jos (November 2008 and spring 2010), violence affected several cities, based on religious motivations, writes Kathpress. “Our solidarity is for all people in Nigeria who want to see this blinded hate ended, because it has no respect for human life and tries to foster more and more hatred and confusion,” said Corrado Cozzi, Seventh-day Adventists Euro-Africa Communication.
Around 277,000 baptized adult Seventh-day Adventists live in Nigeria. They meet in 858 churches. Adventists maintain a university, three high schools, two technical high schools, two middle schools, 101 primary schools, an orphanage, four hospitals, 18 clinics and two veterinary clinics.

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