PRAYER ALERT: In two days Boko Haram massacres struck two villages in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State. On November 19 the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group was said to kill 45 in Azaya Kura. The next day it slaughtered 60 fishermen in Doron Baga. These Boko Haram massacres come only a month after Nigerian officials announced a truce with the group. They claimed that Boko Haram had agreed to release 200+ schoolgirls whom they had kidnapped in April.
But on November 1 Abubakr Shekau, leader of the five-year Boko Haram insurgency, denied the truce. Laughing, Shekau said that all of the 200+ kidnapped girls had converted to Islam and been married off. A recent Human Rights Watch report details the torture, rape, forced marriages and death threats that escaped girls witnessed or experienced. Some were pressed to take part in battles. Others were compelled to lure Christian men into death traps.
Why is the Nigerian government mostly ignoring the escaped girls, despite inside information they could share? This is one of the many questions that President Jonathan Goodluck has yet to answer. Despite declaring a state of emergency in three states, Goodluck’s response to the constant Boko Haram massacres is widely perceived as ineffective.
Goodluck faces a battle for reelection in February. Most of the opposition parties have joined a coalition, the All Progressives Congress, to defeat him. They are likely to nominate a candidate representing the mostly Muslim north. All of Nigeria’s northern states have imposed some form of shariah law. All of them also harbor Boko Haram terrorists, who are fighting to force shariah law on the mostly Christian south.
Goodluck is supposed to be the Christian candidate. But his security services are using increasingly oppressive measures against his opposition. On November 20 police sprayed top opposition lawmakers with tear gas as they entered Parliament for a key vote. On November 22-23 the State Security Service raided the opposition coalition offices in Lagos. The SSS said it was investigating allegations of voter-card cloning. The opposition charged that its computers were destroyed and documents were stolen.
Unfortunately, both sides are known to use such strong-arm tactics which have been common in past Nigerian elections. And even the 2011 elections—said to be the cleanest in 15 years—were marred by almost 1000 deaths in post-election protests.
But after five years of Boko Haram massacres and kidnappings, this election could get much uglier. Voting may well be impossible in the most unstable northeastern states. A narrow victory by either side could be harshly contested, leading to worse violence.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, we look to You in heaven. There You reign in perfect peace. There angels and saints live in perfect harmony. We are far from that. Yet in worship, in Spirit and in truth, we can join that blessed company. And 81 million Nigerians who call You Lord can join too. So can 34 million Kenyan Christians. Bring them together to agree in the Spirit. Give Your people peace and harmony with one another. Build their faith and unity in the face of Muslim persecution. Console the grieving. Warn them beforehand of future attacks. Empower them to overcome evil with good. Make them witnesses to the world that Allah is a lie, and Jesus is Lord.
We thank You for tearing peaceful masks from violence-breeding mosques. Destroy their plans before they see light. Enforce laws against murder and insurrection. Show more governments how to effectively punish such evil. Shut down more mosques, not by power, nor by might but by Your Spirit. Release the captives of oppressive shariah law, in Kenya and Nigeria and everywhere in Africa. Bring them out of darkness into Your wonderful light.
We pray that You guide the elections in Nigeria. Bring down any partnership with terrorist Islam. Expose and disrupt plans for violence. Give relief to a nation weary of war. Reveal and exalt plans for peace. Turn back the southward waves of jihad. Let Your justice roll northward like a river. Pour out Your Spirit on all Nigeria. Lead Your choice of candidates in paths of righteousness. Help Your peacemakers resolve areas of strife. Bring forth Your plans to give them hope and a future. And keep Your people praying till Your kingdom comes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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