Christianity in Nigeria

Christianity in Nigeria
Christianity by Country
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Christianity is a major religion in Nigeria accounting for about 50% of the population. Based on a 2003 Nigerian Religious and Demographic survey, Christians comprised 48.2% of the Nigerian population.[1] Christians are dominant in the southern and central region in Nigeria. Nigeria has the largest Christian population compared to any country with Christians in Africa with more than 70 million persons in Nigeria belonging to the church with various denominations.

Since the introduction of Sharia penal law in some of the Northern states, violence between Christians and Muslims has increased.[2] Christianity is growing fast in Nigeria and according to the 1963 census, only 35% of the population at the time were Christian as compared to around 50% today.


The Catholic Church in Nigeria

The Catholic church being the largest Christian body in the world also has a huge and growing following in Nigeria. In 2005, there were an estimated 19 million baptised Catholics in Nigeria.[3] The recent Annuario Pontificio lists 25 million.[4] The Archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church are: Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Onitsha and Owerri.[5] It has about 19 million members in Nigeria.[6] Cardinal Francis Arinze is a Roman Catholic Cardinal from Nigeria.[7]

The National Church, Abuja

The National Church of Nigeria (previously known as the Nigerian Ecumenical Centre and officially known as the National Christian Centre) is a non-denominational cathedral of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of all of Nigeria's Christian churches.The church is located in Abuja.

Church of Nigeria

The ecclesiastical provinces of the Church of Nigeria are Lagos, Ibadan, Ondo, Edo, The Niger, Niger Delta, Owerri, Abuja, Kaduna and Jos.[8] Its primate is Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh.[8] The Church of Nigeria has about 17 million members.[9]

Other denominations

The Nigerian Baptist Convention has about 4 million baptized members.[10]

Jehovah's Witnesses form approximately 0.2% of the population. In 1970, 87,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were present in Nigeria,[11] which grew to more than 313,000 by 2007.[12] In 2001 the highest court of Nigeria ruled that people have the right to object against blood transfusion.[13]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has a growing presence within Nigeria. As of 2009, the church claims 93,532 members in the country[14] and has established 289 congregations.[14]

Anti-Christian violence by Muslims

Relations with Muslims have been strained, killings of Christians have been rampant since at least 1999,[15] The 2010 Jos riots saw clashes between Muslim herders against Christian farmers near the volatile city of Jos, resulting in hundreds of casualties.[16] Officials estimated that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs.[17]

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) threatened to sue Nigeria for (in their words) “the mindless killing of Christians by a Muslim fundamentalist sect – Boko Haram.” from a Christian group: "For too long, the Christian Community had kept quiet, hoping that one day reason will prevail and the state chief executives will on their own compensate the victims and rebuild their demolished churches and homes."[18]

In March 2010 clashes killed at least 200 people, most of them Christians. In similar clashes in 2008, more than 300 were killed.[19]

See also


  1. ^ "Nigeria: Facts and figures". BBC News. 2007-04-17. 
  2. ^ Ismene Zarifis (2002). "Human Rights Brief: Rights of Religious Minorities in Nigeria". 
  3. ^ Craig Timberg, "Nigeria's Spiritual Rainmaker is Eyed at Vatican," Washington Poet, 17 April 2005, A1
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio, 2009.
  5. ^ "Current Dioceses in Nigeria (Catholic Hierarchy)". 
  6. ^ Timberg, Craig (2005-04-17). "Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  7. ^ Carroll, Rory (2003-10-03). "The Guardian on Arinze". London. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  8. ^ a b "Site of the Church of Nigeria". 
  9. ^ "Site of the Gazette ( Colorado Springs)". 
  10. ^ "Site of the Nigerian Baptist Convention". 
  11. ^ "DER SPIEGEL 46/1972 - Dunkle Zeit". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  12. ^ "2009 Report of Jehovah's Witnesses Worldwide". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ a b "LDS Newsroom- country information- Nigeria". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  15. ^ Malkin, Michelle (2006-02-19). "Muslims Kill Christians In Nigeria". Michelle Malkin. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  16. ^ "Nigeria violence: Muslim-Christian clashes kill hundreds". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  17. ^ Clayton, Jonathan; Gledhill, Ruth (2010-03-08). "500 butchered in Nigeria killing fields". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  18. ^ "Church Leader to Sue Nigeria for Killing of Christians « News of Persecution & Suffering « International Christian Concern". 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  19. ^ "Machete-wielding rioters kill 200 in Nigeria - World news - Africa". 2010-3-8. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 

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