Christian Persecution in Nigeria On The Rise as Universities Reportedly Ban Christian Worship


With persecution intensifying in Nigeria, many Christians face amplified social pressures.

The latest example centers on two government colleges. Sean Nelson, legal counsel for ADF International, warns of dangerous, anti-Christian bias on these campuses.

“The situation in Nigeria, just generally, is a very, very difficult situation for Christians, in particular, especially in the northern part of the country,” Nelson said. “Nigeria [is] the largest democracy in Africa. … It’s roughly equally divided between Christians and Muslims, with the northern portion of the country being predominantly Muslim.”

It’s in that region where many Christians become “marginalized” and face discrimination.

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Nelson and ADF International are now sounding the alarm over two universities — one federal and one state — that have reportedly barred Christian students from “being able to use any facilities for worship [or] fellowship.”

“The reason you know it’s discrimination is that … the Muslim students are completely allowed to use all of these facilities,” he said. “They’re preventing Christians from using those spaces, from worshipping on campus, having fellowship; they have to go off campus to do that. It’s just plain discrimination.”

Nelson said such restrictions are a total violation of Nigeria’s constitution, which protects freedom of religion and belief.

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“When you combine [the college issue] with some of the targeted killings that Christians are facing all across the north — there’s been hundreds of kidnappings recently just the last couple weeks,” Nelson said. “It’s a really horrible situation for them.”

Christians in Nigeria are not only facing social pressure; some are facing violence and death, with officials failing to uphold protections.

Nigeria remained one of the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, with 3,300.

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Nigeria was also the third highest country in number of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings such as hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750, according to the report.

In the 2024 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as it was in the previous year.

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