Nigeria (MNN) — The world is watching the African nation of Nigeria as presidential elections draw near. The Saturday March 28 election is a rematch of sorts from the 2011 election. Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathon is vying for another term against his main opposition challenger, Muhammadu Buhari.
As Nigeria prepares for the election, it’s also bracing for election violence. In 2011, post-election violence in the north claimed the lives of 800 people. Particularly hard-hit was the city of Kaduna. Residents there are preparing for similar violence by stocking up on food and closing down businesses.
The rest of the country is also taking precautions. The Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday, March 25, that Nigeria has closed all land and sea borders. They’ll be effectively closed until midnight Saturday, March 28.
Why? Secretary Abubakar Magaji says the borders would be closed “to allow for the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming national elections,” reports the Premium Times. Nigeria Immigration Service has been directed to ensure that non-Nigerians do not participate in any part of the election process.
According to other media sources, there are signs that violence could erupt again. Religiously, Nigeria is divided between the Christians (or non-Muslims) in the south, and the Muslims in the north. The terrorist group known as Boko Haram has a strong presence there. They want to create a separate Islamic State, adhering to Islamic (Sharia) law.
Boko Haram has attacked villages, schools, and churches to force this upon society. According to Open Doors, these attacks have left more than 1.5 million internally-displaced Nigerians refugees in their own country. Many Nigerians have been killed, injured, or kidnapped. More than 1,000 children have been orphaned.
There are already signs that the contest between Jonathan–a southern Christian, and Buhari–a Muslim northerner, might provoke another wave of religious violence in a city characterized by its fractured identity.
Organizations like Open Doors is providing for the needs of orphaned children physically and spiritually. They are providing food, bedding, and clothing, and they also want to put a children’s Bible in the hands of each child.
Pray that God will intervene to allow peace to prevail in Nigeria during the election. Pray, too, that the Holy Spirit would move the hearts of Boko Haram members to seek after Jesus and find Him.
If you’d like to support the work of Open Doors among these orphaned children, click here.