Christianity in Nigeria

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Christians in Nigeria comprise between 40%[1] and 49.3%[2][3][4] of the population. Christians are dominant in the southern and central region in Nigeria. According to the Pew Research Center, Nigeria has the largest Christian population of any country in Africa, with more than 85 million persons in Nigeria belonging to the church with various denominations.[4] The numbers of Christians in Nigeria has grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 49.3% in 2010.[3]

Since the introduction of Sharia penal law in some of the Northern states, violence towards non-Muslims has increased.[5]


Catholic Church in Nigeria[edit]

The Catholic Church has a large and growing following in Nigeria. In 2005, there were an estimated 19 million baptised Catholics in Nigeria.[6] The Archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church are: Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Onitsha and Owerri.[7] It has about 30 million members in Nigeria.[8] Cardinal Francis Arinze is a Roman Catholic Cardinal from Nigeria.[9]

Anglican Church of Nigeria[edit]

The ecclesiastical provinces of the Church of Nigeria are Lagos, Ibadan, Ondo, Edo, The Niger, Niger Delta, Owerri, Abuja, Kaduna and Jos.[10] Its primate is Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh.[10] The Church of Nigeria has about 17 million members.[11]

Nigerian Baptist Convention[edit]

The Nigerian Baptist Convention has about 6 million baptized members.[12]

Presbyterian Church of Nigeria[edit]

The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has almost 4,000 000 members in thousands of congregations mainly in Nigeria, but has regional Presbytery in Togo as well as in Benin. It was founded in the mid-1800s, by ministers of the Church of Scotland. It is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ[edit]

The Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ was formed in Plateau State in 1916. The church has approximately 1,5 million members.

Nontrinitarian groups[edit]

Within Nigeria, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has a growing presence. As of January 1, 2012, the church claims more than 100,000 members in the country[13] and has established 315 congregations.[13]

In 1970, 87,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were present in Nigeria,[14] which grew to more than 360,000 by 2014.[15]

National Church of Nigeria, Abuja[edit]

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

Anti-Christian violence by Muslims[edit]

Since the introduction of Sharia penal law in some of the Northern states, violence towards non-Muslims has increased.[5] Relations with Muslims have been strained, killings of Christians have been rampant since at least 1999,[16] The 2010 Jos riots saw clashes between Muslim herders against Christian farmers near the volatile city of Jos, resulting in hundreds of casualties on both sides.[17] Officials estimated that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs.[18]

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."[19]

In March 2010 clashes killed at least 200 people, most of them Christians. In similar clashes in 2008, more than 300 were killed.[20] Also, on Christmas Day in 2011, the Islamist sect Boko Haram bombed a catholic church near the nation's capital Abuja killing over 30 people. The BBC reported that on Christmas Eve 2012 six Christians were killed and their church burned down. No group had claimed responsibility for the attack but the broadcaster drew comparisons with similar attacks carried out by Boko Haram at the same time in 2011.[21]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ CIA The World Factbook - Nigeria
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Pew Forum on Religion. (18 December 2012). Retrieved on 9 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Global Christianity: Regional Distribution of Christians". Pew Research Center. December 19, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Ismene Zarifis (2002). "Human Rights Brief: Rights of Religious Minorities in Nigeria". 
  6. ^ Craig Timberg, "Nigeria's Spiritual Rainmaker is Eyed at Vatican," Washington Poet, 17 April 2005, A1
  7. ^ "Current Dioceses in Nigeria (Catholic Hierarchy)". 
  8. ^ Timberg, Craig (2005-04-17). "Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  9. ^ Carroll, Rory (2003-10-03). "The Guardian profile: Cardinal Francis Arinze". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  10. ^ a b "Site of the Church of Nigeria". 
  11. ^ "Site of the Gazette ( Colorado Springs)". 
  12. ^ "Site of the Nigerian Baptist Convention". 
  13. ^ a b "LDS Newsroom- country information- Nigeria". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  14. ^ "DER SPIEGEL 46/1972 - Dunkle Zeit". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  15. ^ 2015 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. p. 184. 
  16. ^ Malkin, Michelle (2006-02-19). "Muslims Kill Christians In Nigeria". Michelle Malkin. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  17. ^ "Nigeria violence: Muslim-Christian clashes kill hundreds". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  18. ^ Clayton, Jonathan; Gledhill, Ruth (2010-03-08). "500 butchered in Nigeria killing fields". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  19. ^ "Church Leader to Sue Nigeria for Killing of Christians « News of Persecution & Suffering « International Christian Concern". 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  20. ^ "Machete-wielding rioters kill 200 in Nigeria - World news - Africa". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  21. ^ Nigeria gunmen 'kill at least six Christians' in Yobe, BBC News, 25 December 2012 [1]