Nigeria is currently at number 12 on Open Doors World Watch list of Christian persecution.
Persecution of Christians in Nigeria’s northern states appears to be on the rise again with reports that churches are being demolished in the state capital of Jigawa, according to World Watch Monitor.
The Redeem Christian Church of God and the Lord Chosen Church in the capital Dutse are the latest to have been bulldozed,
Civic authorites said they were demolished because they had not been registered.
Rev Yakubu Musa, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Jigawa, said that during the demolition, police blocked church doors to stop members entering, and chased off any they saw trying to take photographs.
Musa said: “It was a terrible experience, with so many Christians who witnessed the demolition crying. I felt so bitter because we were in a situation where you have been cheated and you cannot talk.”
He said there had been no notice of demolition. He also insisted the leaders of both churches had applied for the necessary permits to exist, but had been refused.
“They just came in unexpectedly and they demolished everything. Nobody was allowed to remove any valuables in the church buildings and other nearby properties,” said Musa.
Both churches had applied for official registration documents, he said, but the government had refused to grant them. In all, more than 30 churches in the state are in the same situation, having applied for but been refused registration documents.
Neither church was new.
The Lord Chosen Church was 17 years old and the Redeem Christian Church of God had been there for eight years.
Musa added: “I was very angry because there were two mosques in that same place, but none of these mosques were demolished. There is also another building belonging to a Muslim person, which was marked for demolition, but they only concentrated on the church buildings because we are not many and we don’t have anyone in the government to speak for us.”
Six more churches have been earmarked for demolition by authorities in the same state, according to World Watch Monitor. These are the Deeper Life Bible Church, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministry, the Methodist church, the Presbyterian church, the Redeem Church II and the Baptist church.
Churches in Jigawa are experiencing strong growth. The congregations of the bulldozed churches have no plans to give up or go elsewhere. From now on, they will worship in the open air.
Twelve states including Jigawa have instituted Sharia law.