Wednesday, October 19, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center
LAGOS, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)-- Human rights investigators expressed concern Wednesday, October 19, about the situation of Christians in Nigeria, after a pastor and his wife were allegedly attacked by an angry mob for preaching and condemning idol worshipping.
In a message to BosNewsLife, Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) said it had urged its supporters to "continue to pray for the ministry of Pastor" Pastor Enoch Iburene and his wife, Evangelist Lovina, who were reportedly attacked last week in the Ijegun area of Lagos, the largest city and former capital of the West African country.
"I didn’t know it had become an offence to preach in one’s neighborhood, and I ‘m not aware of any law anywhere stating that we should stop preaching" the online edition of Nigeria's Daily Sun newspaper quoted her as saying.
"That is what my husband and I do for a living. We are missionaries and it is our job to make sure we bring the Gospel to everyone that we come in contact with...As such, our neighborhood should be first to feel our impact and that was what my husband and I did and were almost killed for it," she added.
Pastor Ibeshe said the problems began when he and his wife urged indigenes not to worship idols or to vandalize pipelines "to scoop oil in drums and big gallons."
"When we noticed what was happening around us, as ministers of God, it will be counted unto us as sinful, if we failed to talk to them about their sinful act and the repercussion of such acts, but instead of heeding the voice of reason, they waged war on us, beating us black and blue. It is what this country has degenerated into?
He told the paper that "Christians continue to suffer unduly" for the Gospel. "How long will this go on, what happened to the freedom of religion, that was stipulated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of which we are a part of? We are calling on the government to please look into these area, because a lot of Christians have been sent to their early graves for this sole reason," he added.
The reported incident came after news that security forces in Nigeria's largest northern city, Kano, are without a church after local authorities and Islamic law enforcers demolished the building as part of what Christians described as an ongoing campaign to "Islamicize the state."
Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo, known as a 'born again' Christian, has been under pressure to intervene by changing the constitution to increase the rights of Christians, who comprise roughly 40 percent of Nigeria's nearly 129-million strong population.
"While the Nigerian constitution professes a secular status for the nation, state governments in northern Nigeria are Islamic institutions whose main task is to promote and propagate Islam using public funds," said the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in published remarks earlier this year.
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