Nigeria: American Pastor and Nigerian lawyer commended for rebuilding church destroyed in 2016 massacre by Fulani militants

Thursday, May 6, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - The governor of Nigeria’s Benue State has commended American missionary Pastor William Delvin and Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe for rebuilding a church that was destroyed during the 2016 massacre of civilians in the Agatu municipality by Fulani militant herdsmen. After visiting the devastated Agatu community in 2020, Delvin and Ogebe raised necessary funds and organized the rebuilding of the area’s Methodist church in time for its opening on Easter Sunday this year.

On February 21, 2016, Fulani Islamic herdsmen laid siege to the mostly Christian area of Agatu, murdering 500 people, including five members of the Methodist church congregation. In addition to destroying the church, the militants destroyed 70 private homes.

Delvin, a New York City Pastor and CEO of the REDEEM! NGO, had visited Agatu in October 2020, and had been struck by the fact that Christians were worshipping God outside as they had no building. He returned to the US and began raising funds for a building, which quickly came in. Delvin joined with Ogebe of the Nigeria Law Group: in order to stimulate the Agatu economy as well, local laborers were hired to work on construction using local materials.

Speaking to the Christian Post about the opening of the new church building, Devlin said: “I told the congregation, ‘I’m not even a Methodist, but I saw your tears. … And Revelation 21 says that God’s going to wipe away every tear when we meet with Him.' I said, 'I wanted to follow God’s lead, so I came to Agatu to wipe away the tears that you have shed over the people who were killed, over the homes that were destroyed, and over your church that was destroyed.’”

At the dedication of the church Benue governor Samuel Ortom expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Delvin and Ogebe in facilitating the construction of an ample church building for the community, Independent Nigeria reported. Invited to make remarks at the opening, Ogebe said: “My joy is that today, what the people have got is far better than what they had before, that was destroyed by herdsmen,” Independent Nigeria reports.