Nigeria Animists Attack Churches and Priests for "Making gods Angry"

Monday, May 8, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife) -- Two Anglican priests in Nigeria were out of their comas Friday, May 5, after crowds of traditional animists reportedly beat them nearly to death and destroyed their properties for “making gods angry” with church services.

The priests, Chris Adetula and Oladejo Luji, “nearly lost their lives” when traditional animists attacked churches in the Nigerian town of Ode-Aye town in the southwestern state of Ondo and destroyed church properties worth an estimated 6 million naira ($48,831), news reports said.

The Anglican bishop of the Diocese on the Coast of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Joshua Ogunele, told Christian news agency Compass Direct that the troubles began in February and continued in March.

He said that followers of native religions attacked the St. Christopher Anglican Church along with other nearby churches and stressed that although the priests were almost lynched by an angry mob, they were no longer in comas, Compass Direct reported.


During their annual Okute festival, adherents of the native religion had imposed a 21-day ban on Christian worship, especially use of drums.

Ode-Aye’s leader of the worshipers of the African traditional religion (Oba), Williams Akindale was quoted as saying that aggrieved members of his group carried out the attack on churches as Christians, by worshiping in their churches during the Okute festival, “were making the gods to be angry.”

He told Compass Direct that "since time immemorial, tradition demands that during the celebrations of festival, there should not be any beating of drums, but the churches have defied this tradition during this period."


Church watchers have said however that the Ondo State High Court in 1988 ruled the imposition of the ban on non-adherents of the traditional religion as "frivolous and vexatious," he said.

Christian leaders have urged the Nigerian government to intervene as there was an
"unhealthy trend, whereby people take it upon themselves to impose their religious values on Christians in the country."

There is concern over rising religious tensions in Nigeria, where scores of Christians were killed this year following protests against Christians over the publication in mainly European media of the prophet Muhammad. Christians comprise roughly 40 percent of Nigeria’s nearly 129-million people, according to estimates. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Nigeria).

Copyright 2006 BosNewsLife. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without our prior written consent.