Document date:  4.08.2009
Letter to the churches in Nigeria

Geneva, 4 August 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with great shock and profound sorrow that we heard the news of the tragic outbreak of communal violence in Maiduguri and four northern states in Nigeria this past week. The resultant 800 deaths and immense suffering of hundreds of people in northern Nigeria has saddened us immensely. Together with you, we condemn and deplore such wanton acts of violence.

We have received the troubling news that more than fifty Christians have been killed in Maiduguri during the recent conflict (including a pastor) and that at least 13 churches belonging to Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN) and Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) have been destroyed during this period.

As you are aware by now, I have written a letter of concern to His Excellency Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In my letter, I urge him to ensure the safety of all citizens in the areas now afflicted with violence in the northern Nigerian states and ensure that all perpetrators of these acts of violence and human rights violations be brought to justice.

We extend to the families of the victims our sincere sympathy, and express our solidarity with all those who are suffering and undergoing traumatic experiences. We shall continue to pray for peace and reconciliation among the people and communities of your troubled region, especially in Bauchi, Yobe, and Borno states.

May God Almighty continue to strengthen you to "seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14).

Yours in Christ's love,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary