Candles lighted in a church

More than 300 wounded people were taken to hospitals, and many are missing.

Most of the attacks occurred on 24-25 December, when many were celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

"We stand with you at this time of grief, and our prayers go out to you for comfort and strength,” stated Archbishop Daniel Okoh, president of the Christian Council of Nigeria. “The loss of lives, including those of our brethren in the Baptist Church in Chirang village, is a devastating blow to our collective peace and unity.”

Okoh condemned the acts of violence. “The burning down of houses, worship centers, and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira is not only a criminal act but also a direct assault on our shared values of peace, unity, and mutual respect,” he stated. “Such acts have no place in our society and must not be allowed to prevail.”

Okoh also urged swift intervention of the military and police.

“Our people deserve to live in peace, and it is high time we moved from reactive to preventive measures,” he stated. “We believe in the unity and strength of our nation.”

According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, more than 40 churches have been attacked in northern Nigeria since 2012. 

Contributing to conflicts in the area is intensifying competition for natural resources between nomadic herders and farmers, exacerbated by rapid population growth and climate pressures.

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay said the WCC stands in solidarity with the Christian Council of Nigeria, and with the churches and communities affected by the attacks. 

"The WCC calls on the Nigerian authorities to act urgently and consistently to prevent further such violent attacks and violations of the human rights of Christians in northern Nigeria and elsewhere," Pillay said. "We invite all WCC member churches and ecumenical and inter-religious partners around the world to join in raising their voices in prayer for equal human rights, justice, and peace in Nigeria.”