From EYN releases by Zakariya Musa
Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has reported on fighting between government forces and Boko Haram in the Askira Uba area of Borno State in northeast Nigeria, with many people forced to flee and at least one church member suffering gunshot wounds.
EYN president Joel S. Billi has shared encouragement with orphaned students in Chibok during a scholarship presentation by the EYN Disaster Relief Ministry. EYN also has extended educational assistance to refugees in Cameroon.
In more news, EYN’s Evangelism Department baptized 39 people in the Rijau area of Niger State, in western Nigeria.
Fighting in Askira Uba
At least one EYN member sustained bullet wounds as people fled their houses when Askira Uba was attacked last Saturday, Dec. 12. Church officials from the district said the attack started around 5:15 p.m. and lasted until 1 a.m.
The Nigerian army in a statement on Dec. 13 said that troops of the 28th Task Force Brigade of Sector 1 Operation LAFIYA DOLE inflicted heavy casualties on Boko Haram. “The terrorists were suspected to have come from Sambisa Forest, mounted on over 15 gun trucks and approached the town from different directions simultaneously,” the statement said, adding that Boko Haram suffered losses both in men, materials, and equipment.” The Air Task Force also responded. Among the equipment and munitions captured by the government forces were gun trucks, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, AK 47 rifles, and rocket propelled grenade bombs. One government soldier died and two others were wounded. The report said some 20 Boko Haram fighters were killed.
The attack occurred a day after more than 300 schoolboys were abducted by Boko Haram from a school many hundreds of miles away in Katsina State, in northwest Nigeria [news of their release came on Dec. 17, see www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-12-17/nigerian-boy-tells-of-abduction-by-extremists-and-his-escape] and two weeks after 76 rice laborers were killed in Zabarmari, 20 kilometers from Maiduguri in the far northeast of Nigeria.
Encouragement to Chibok students
EYN president Joel S. Billi spoke with students orphaned as a result of Boko Haram violence in Chibok communities, encouraging them to read. He addressed the orphans during a scholarship presentation by the EYN Disaster Relief Ministry at the EYN Headquarters in Kwarhi on Nov. 30.
Billi said, “Reading is harder that farming, but you have to read because our aim by giving you a scholarship is to make you great in the community where girl-child education is overlooked.” He also said that the Chibok area is still a troubled community due to unceasing attacks. He added that because of the reports of attacks on the Christian-dominated communities, as he prepared to to resume the denomination’s yearly transfer of staff, he thought of transferring all pastors out of the Chibok area because of the hardship. However, then their church members would be left wondering and thinking EYN had abandoned them, which the church cannot afford to do.
Ten students from the church district DCC Kautikari benefitted from Naira 50,000 to help them continue with their education. Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Joshua Pindar thanked EYN for the assistance. He also pleaded for many orphans to benefit from assistance. Gloria John spoke on behalf of the guardians who take care of the orphans, thanking EYN and the Brethren who gave to help many children. She also prayed for more blessings on EYN and the donors. DCC secretary Emmanuel Mandara added that in Kwada village alone, where one of the churches in the district is located, 73 people were killed one day, leaving many orphans in the area.
Educational assistance to refugees in Cameroon
EYN has assisted 150 students in refugee camp in Minawao, Cameroon, with school fees. The camp is one that houses many EYN members who fled Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria. Funding came from regular help for training sponsored by Mission 21 in Switzerland.
Deputy director of Education, Abba Yaya Chiroma, who presented the Naira 11,000 to the beneficiaries, said they assisted 150 out of 450 secondary school students who are in desperate need for assistance.
The EYN coordinator in the camp, Bitrus A. Mbatha, while appreciating the gesture thanked EYN and Mission 21 for the continued assistance, and prayed for more blessings.
Some of the beneficiaries who shared their gratitude:
Iliya Yahaya: “I appreciate God and sponsors of help for training, and pray that one day we will return to our land in our own village.”
Bala Yakubu: “God bless our leaders (EYN).”
Patience Godwin prayed for more assistance from other organizations.
EYN baptizes 39
EYN’s Evangelism Department baptized 39 people on Sept. 3-9 after paying condolence to one of the pioneer missionaries in the Rijau area of Niger State in western Nigeria. The director of Evangelism, Musa Daniel Mbaya, reported that people asked him to baptize new converts who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior after sighting him in the area during a condolence visit to pastor Daniel K. Amos, who had lost his eldest son.
The ministry’s work was conducted in the communities of Tunga Ardo, Dokka, Aziyang, Morondo, and Madahai. Other activities carried out in the area included 14 children named, 39 dedicated, and the offering of Holy Communion to 98 people.
“Praise God for the battle he is winning for himself in the mission fields,” said Mbaya. He also called for support, in order to reduce the hardship of missionaries, by providing more motorbikes for the purpose of evangelism. He expressed appreciation to the EYN Potiskum congregation in Yobe State for donating a motorcycle for evangelism purposes.
— Zakariya Musa is head of media for EYN and works with the Disaster Relief Ministry team.
Find more Church of the Brethren news: