Christianity in Nigeria

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Christians in Nigeria comprise between 50%[1] and 67.4%[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 in the North.[5] In spite of this, a 2015 study estimates some 600,000 believers in Christ are from a Muslim background living in the country.[6]


Christian denominations in Nigeria

Roman Catholicism 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.[7] The Archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church are: Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Onitsha, Owerri and Sokoto.[8] It has about 30 million members in Nigeria.[9] Cardinal Francis Arinze is a Roman Catholic Cardinal from Nigeria.[10]

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.[11] Its primate is Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh.[11] The Church of Nigeria has about 17 million members.[12]

Nigerian Baptist Convention[edit]

The Nigerian Baptist Convention has about 6 million baptized members.[13]

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 Nasarawa State in 8, July, 1916. Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) is an offspring of the Sudan united Mission (S.U. M ) A missionary Organization.

Sudan United Mission (SUM) as a missionary organization was realized in 1904. the original branch of SUM was from Britain. There was a young German, Dr. Herman Kari Willhem Kumm who fromed Sudan united Mission (S.U.M ) Organization. He first heard of mission work in Africa through J.J Edward who spoke about the work in north Africa.

Dr. Hermann Kari will Hemm Kumm was born on the 19th October 1884 at Aosterade in Hanover province of Germany.

History shows how Sudan United Mission (S.U.M) began in Sheffield, England as a faith mission in 1902, under the name of Sudan Pioneer Mission (S.P.M) on the 15th July, 1904 this missionary organization changed its name to Sudan United Mission when a group of friends gathered to pray for Sudan.

In 1907, Dr. Kumm, was in South Africa as earlier planned to look for workers who will go to Africa for Mission work.

At the end of 1907 two candidates, the Rev. J. George Borth of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and Mr. Vincent Henry Hoskin of the Weleyam Methodist church (WMC) were recruited for the work in South Africa Branch of Sudan United Mission.

In 1909, Mr. Vincent Henry Hosking and Rev. J. George Borth from South African branch began work among Borrong people in Bulla District as their first station.

In 1811, Mr. A.S. Judd arrived to join them: However, the work in this region was short lived.

The first, two missionaries who came in 1909 were from different denominations (Reformed and Methodist). They also departed. Rev. J. George Borth the Afrika’an speaking missionary requested that she should be allowed to take over the work among the TIV people as her own special outreach. This request was granted on 1st July, 1916. Then Mr. Vencent Henry Hosking an English speaking and other member who were not from Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) decided to leave. They went over to Keana, in Nasarawa State, where they started work which later gave birth to what is today known as ERCC. ERCC Church is born: The history of Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) is long, and it began about a centru now. The church is an offspring of Sudan United Mission (SUM) Missionary Organization. A source clearly states that the Pioneer Missionaries of ERCC were Mr. Vincent Henry Hosking, Mr. Frederick Carl Ziwmmerin man and Mr. Author Sidney Judd. They opened their first mission station at Keana on the 1st July, 1916 after the tour of Mr. Judd who undertook investigation cross North of the Benue River. They had wanted to started work among the Mada people but since there was no suitable opportunity; they decided and began work in the town of Keana among the Alago people. The work was done under the leadership of Mr. Vincent Henry Hosking. He led mission team July 1916 to 4th September, 1917, and died of yellow fever in Keana where he was buried. Mr. A.S. Judd took over the work of the leadership and move to Randa town in Kaduna state among the Ninzo People in 1920. As the work of SUM progressed, Randa was made their Headquarters. It was in Randa that the first fellowship of Churches of SUM, (TEKAS) was born (thus ERCC hosted the first meeting which held from 16th – 20th February, 1955). In 15th April, 1957 after the certificate of incorporation was received all the six founded member churches they had similar constitutions and statements of faith. (Churches in fellowship, Setting up TEKAN by Daili, P 69) all indigenous believers of South Africa branch though of a name EKAS Lardin Dutse Mada meaning (Ekkilisiya Krista a Sudan) Lardin Dutse Mada Hills which brought the birth of Mada Hills branch. As the work of Evangelism progressed, more missionaries were sent to help, and new stations were opened as follows – Wana in 1926, Lafia in 1932, Ancho in 1937, Gwaji in 1937, ALushi in 1937, kango in 1944 and so forth, where the Evangelism work reached to our area Kurudu in 1979. As the Evangelism work centered the Headquarters of the church remain “Alushi.” Change of names Because of the expansion and its growth the church, change her names for different reasons of different times initially, in 1916; it was called Sudan United Mission (SUM). In 1958; it was called Ekkilisiya Krista a Sudan (EKAS) Lardin Dutse Mada. In 1974, He was changed to Ekkilisiya Kristi a Niegria. (EKAN) Lardin Duste Mada. In 1984, it was change to church of Christ in Control Niegria (CCCN) IN 1991 He was changed to Evangelical Reformed church of Christ (ERCC) today. The growth of the church: Inspite of these changes, the Headquarters remains Alushi. As history state, the church started as the mustard seed (Mt. 13:13-14) from Keana then Randa, today the church is proud to give an account of the church growth almost all the middle belt states the church has its branches, partially to the west and the Eastern region, the church spread their too. The church has the population of active workers on field about 453, active ordained ministers and many non-ordained ministers; the church has secretariat complete at the Headquarters. he church had Eight Conferences controlled by ordained Ministers Archdeorns and Administrative Secretaries. All the conferences had it secretariat complex for effective running of all the administrations handing affairs personal. The church has about Local Church Council (LCC) 430. The church had groups that helped in propagating the Gospel e.g women fellowship groups, from the top G.C.C; Conference, and LCC also sub LCC ands classes. Youths from all the stages new life for all from all the stages, Mission and Evangelism from all the stages. The church has other parastatals, which are also controlled by Trained personal. They are: - Medical and Health Services - Education Department - Mission and Evangelism Department - Department of Personal Management - Bookshops - business oriented department Brief indigenous leaders: After the receipt of the certificate of in co-operation was received in 1957 the following indigenous people where elect as their leaders. In 1957 – Mr. ombugadu Edamaku as chairman. In 1958 – Pastor Ambi Anwe become the chairman for six years. In 1956, pastor Mamman Audu as chairman and Ashenanye was his secretary, the held the officer for five years. In 1970, pastor Abimiku Anzazu as chairman and Ashananye kutsum as the secretary. In 1972. rev Bashari Yanzah as chairman and Rev. Adamu S. Mari his secretary. In 1975, rev. mantani Kreni as chairman and rev. Luka maicibi Kpaji as his secretary. In 1981, rev. Samson D. Agidi as chairman and Rev. Bashayi yanzah as his secretary full time in office. In 1982, rev. Bulus Denji as chairman and Rev. Bashayi Yanzoh as his secretary. In 1984, rev. Bashayi Yanzah as the first president and Mr. Akawu Manga Michael as His Secretary. On 7th October, 1984 Rev. bashayi Yanzoh died. In November, 1984 rev. Hussaini oduh acted as the president. November 1984 rev. Samson D. Aguba was elected the president at the council meeting (Sqnod) and Rev. Michael Manga Akawu as his secretary. In 1991 V. rev mantani Kereni elected as the president and V. rev. GG Dogo as his secretary. In 1993 V. Rev Samson D. Agidi was elcted third tenure and V. Rev. Joel Galadima was his secretary. In 1996 V. rev. Adamu S. Mari as the president and Rev. Nuhu Idzi as his secretary. In 2001 V. rev. Nehemiah V. Swede as the President and rev. Nuhu Idzi as the secretary and 2002 rev. Emma Sunday was replace as the new secretary. 2004 V. Rev. Adamu Alyala as the President and V. Rev. Ayuba T. Ango as his secretary. 2009 V. Rev. Adamu Akyala was re-elected as the president and V. Rev. Ayuba T. Ayo as his secretary tenure. On 30th January, 2011 V. rev. Adamu Akyala died and V. Rev. Lokayama also was acted as the president for five months. On 8th June, 2011 V. rev. Lokayama also was conform as the president, while V. Rev. Peter Y. Aya was his secretary. In 2015 the President of ERCC IS Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Madibo edit by Aku Sabo Agbam.

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[14] and has established 315 congregations.[14]

In 1970, 87,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were present in Nigeria,[15] which grew to more than 360,000 by 2014.[16]

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,[17] 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.[18] Officials estimated that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs.[19]

In March 2010 the clashes resulted in the death of 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]

Christian population by state[edit]

Reigion State Population Christians % Christian population Total region
Northern states 1- Sokoto 3,696,999 0.4 % 14,788 4.211%
2- Zamfara 3,259,846 0.4 % 13,039
3- Jigawa 4,348,649 0.8 % 34,789
4- Kano 9,383,682 1.1 % 103,220
5- Yobe 2,321,591 1 % 23,216
6-Katsina 5,792,578 0.4 % 23,170
7- Borno 4,151,193 2 % 83,024
8- Kebbi 3,238,628 0.4 % 12,954
9- Bauchi 4,676,465 1.6 % 74,823
10- Gombe 2,353,879 6.2 % 145,940
11- Niger 3,950,249 4 % 158,010
12- Kaduna 6,066,562 20 % 1,213,312
Central states 13- Kogi 3,278,487 15 % 491,773 29,665%
14- Abuja 1,405,201 20 % 281,040
15- Adamawa 3,168,101 10 % 315,810
16- Nasarawa 1,863,275 13.8 % 257,132
17- Taraba 2,300,736 13.7 % 315,201
18- Plateau 3,178,712 70 % 2,225,098
19- Benue 4,219,244 53.4 % 2,253,076
20 - Kwara 2,371,089 13,6% 322,468
Western States 21-Oyo 5,591,589 30 % 1,677,477 51,376%
22- Ogun 3,728,098 35 % 1,304,834
23- Osun 3,423,535 30 % 1,727,060
24- Lagos 9,013,534 35 % 3,154,737
25- Ondo 3,441,024 78,2 % 2,690,881
26- Ekiti 2,384,212 79 % 1,883,527
27- Edo 3,218,332 58,2 % 1,873,069
28- Delta 4,098,391 80 % 3,278,713
Southern States 29-Anambra 4,182,032 85 % 3,554,727 89,645%
30- Enugu 3,257,298 89% 2,898,995
31- Cross River 2,888,966 82 % 2,368,952
32- Ebonyi 2,173,501 90 % 1,956,151
33- Rivers 5,185,400 90.4% 4,687,602
34- Abia 2,833,999 91.3 % 2,587,441
35- Akwa Ibom 3,920,208 95,8 % 3,755,559
36- Bayelsa 1,703,358 90 % 1,533,022
37- Imo 3,934,899 90 % 3,541,409
total 140,003,542 37,2391 % 52,136,039

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. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane Alexander (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". IJRR. 11: 14. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Craig Timberg, "Nigeria's Spiritual Rainmaker is Eyed at Vatican," Washington Poet, 17 April 2005, A1
  8. ^ "Current Dioceses in Nigeria (Catholic Hierarchy)". 
  9. ^ Timberg, Craig (2005-04-17). "Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  10. ^ Carroll, Rory (2003-10-03). "The Guardian profile: Cardinal Francis Arinze". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  11. ^ a b "Site of the Church of Nigeria". 
  12. ^ "Site of the Gazette ( Colorado Springs)". 
  13. ^ "Site of the Nigerian Baptist Convention". 
  14. ^ a b "LDS Newsroom- country information- Nigeria". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  15. ^ "DER SPIEGEL 46/1972 - Dunkle Zeit". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  16. ^ 2015 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Society. p. 184. 
  17. ^ Malkin, Michelle (2006-02-19). "Muslims Kill Christians In Nigeria". Michelle Malkin. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  18. ^ "Nigeria violence: Muslim-Christian clashes kill hundreds". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  19. ^ Clayton, Jonathan; Gledhill, Ruth (2010-03-08). "500 butchered in Nigeria killing fields". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  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]