01/17/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged religious leaders to preach peace and maintain neutrality before, during, and after the upcoming general elections in Nigeria. Historically, general elections in Nigeria are a time fraught with religiously motivated violence especially in Nigeria’s northern and middle belt regions.
Speaking at the 2nd General Assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Abubakar said that spiritual leaders, both Muslim and Christian, must preach the word of God with honesty and sincerity to sustain peace in the country. The sultan also urged security agencies to discharge their responsibilities diligently throughout the election period.
Nigeria is ranked number 12 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of top 50 countries where Christians face persecution. According to that report, “Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens with Christians from Muslim backgrounds facing persecution from their own families.”
While some regions of Nigeria maintain an environment where religious freedom is respected, it is important to remember those Christian communities where persecution is a daily reality. This is especially true in the days and weeks leading up to a general election. Let us join with Nigerians in praying for a peaceful election cycle.
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