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Nigeria: "We will never forget what you have done for us"

24 August 2017

Thanks to the remarkable response of supporters to the recent emergency appeal for believers facing famine in northern Nigeria, Open Doors was able to scale up relief work immediately.

Over 15,000 families - 75,000 individuals - have received lifesaving aid. And they want to tell you, thank you!

"We have been dancing and clapping. We are going to cook this maize and beans and praise the Lord and appreciate what God has done for us. We are grateful," says Alisa Bature from northern Nigeria. "Extend our regards to whosoever contributed to this food."

"You people have spoken sense into our lives," says Mary Gambo Wawsa. "We have been hungry. Life is not easy. These things are going to help me a lot... Is it not okay for me to tell God, thank you? I am grateful."

In June, the UN World Food Programme warned that hundreds of thousands of Nigerians could starve to death in the famine-threatened north east due to lack of aid funds to feed them. But thanks to your support, through the local church Open Doors has been able to provide three months' worth of food to 15,000 families, each receiving 50kg beans, 100kg maize and financial support to help them to survive.

Rhoda, who has seven mouths to feed and struggles to make ends meet, was another beneficiary. "One fateful day we went to school and when we came back we found our house burned with our father inside.

"Life has not been easy for us. But thank God for Open Doors who gave us these gifts. It has not been easy for people because food items are very, very expensive. So we want to say, 'Thank you'."

"We are so grateful for this food aid," shares Pastor Bulus* from Yobe State. He cries as he says, "Please tell the people who gave towards this aid that we will never forget what they have done for us. We have never experienced such help. You have demonstrated the love of God. On Sunday, people came to church en masse to praise God. And they thank the people who provided this aid."

"Supporters won't believe what this help means to us all," says an Open Doors partner in Nigeria. "We know that people make sacrifices so we can be helped, and this makes us so emotional. We will not forget your labour of love. We are praying for all of you and the beneficiaries are praying for you all.

"We give thanks to God for you. Know that this is making a big difference. These (actions) keep the light of God shining in the north. We are the messengers to them of the love of all of you praying for us and supporting us in this relief effort."

Famine - the unforeseen impact of Boko Haram

Since 2009, the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency has resulted in over 20,000 deaths and the displacement of over 2 million people. But the agricultural impact of the insurgency is only just being realised.

  • Many internally displaced people (IDPs) are from Borno State - a vast region of farmland which has seen the highest concentration of attacks. For the fourth year in a row, Borno is going without a harvest.
  • Supplying food is dangerous: marketplaces, aid distribution points and roads are targeted in militant attacks.
  • Population movements put pressure on host communities to provide food, and worsen food security.
  • The Nigerian government is closing IDP camps, forcing many to return to insecure regions where food is scarce.

Christians face extra challenges as the little aid that reaches needy people in the north east is primarily distributed to Muslims over Christians. "The discrimination Christians face in relief aid is a politically incorrect message, hardly anyone reported on it," says an aid distribution team leader for Open Doors. "We witnessed the hunger increase in informal camps, and in host communities, as food became scarcer and scarcer and people remained unable to farm."

Thanks to your support, over £80,000 has so far been raised in the UK and Ireland since March to support vulnerable Christians with aid in north east Nigeria.

Thank you for all of your support. Please continue to pray and give towards the work in Nigeria - there's more to be done and the relief programme is not yet fully funded. Every £37 could pay for a 50kg bag of beans.

Please pray:

  • Praise God for protecting those distributing food, and that so many people have been helped thanks to the generosity of Open Doors supporters
  • For wisdom for the local church as they work with Open Doors and other local aid agencies to provide for the most vulnerable in Nigeria
  • For peace in the region and that the love of God will spread throughout north east Nigeria.

Meet your persecuted church family

Pastor Abraham James* from Nigeria will be speaking at our Standing Strong celebrations in Birmingham and Belfast in October, alongside others. Book your tickets, bring a group, hear directly from our persecuted brothers and sisters, and stand with them in prayer and worship.

*name changed for security reasons

More News from Nigeria:

Find out more about persecution in Nigeria.