Believers in Nigeria are thanking the Lord for His protection of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) congregation in Jos from destruction when a security guard discovered and then safely disposed of an improvised explosive device (IED) on Sunday, July 12. The local bomb squad later discovered a second IED and safely disarmed it.
“A security guard at the church found a polythene bag he discovered close to the choir area in the church suspicious. He immediately removed the bag and threw it over the fence where it exploded without injuring anyone. Afterwards, the bomb squad arrived and found another bomb hidden in a bag in the church. They were able to remove it safely,” reported an Open Doors source.
“We thank God for His grace. Had those bombs not been discovered, the destruction would have been something else. This is a big testimony for which we thank the Lord. It is also a very poignant reminder of the importance of continued prayer for the Lord’s protection over His children in Nigeria,” continued the source.
Though the identities of the perpetrators of the failed attack were not immediately clear, it is assumed that an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria is responsible. In spite of recent setbacks, the group is undeterred and has resorted to guerrilla tactics in attacks in Chad, Nigeria and Niger that have taken the lives of at least 34 people.
Meanwhile, more hopeful news has come in the form of a report that fresh negotiations have started with an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in April 2014. Fred Eno, a human rights activist who is said to have been involved in negotiations for the release of the Chibok girls last year but not a part of the current talks, told media others had resumed contact with the Islamist group independently of the government. He did not say who they were.
“Preliminary contacts were made with the insurgents by those involved in the previous negotiations, with a view to reviving the deal we struck last time. They (an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria) have responded in the affirmative and so various channels are being explored. There are no formal negotiations going on now between the current government and the insurgents for the release of the girls as such.” A spokesman for the presidency said the government has no knowledge of the talks and was not currently trying to reach out to an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria, though it has previously indicated it was not averse to negotiation.
Father, in this nation where we continue to hear of unrelenting attacks on Your church, we give tremendous thanks and praise for Your protection of this church. With the Psalmist, this congregation gives you all the glory as they pray, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”- Ps. 124:2-8. We pray for Your continued protection over them and for Your children across northeastern Nigeria. We pray Your wisdom, power and grace to surround the unofficial negotiations with an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria for the release of the Chibok girls. Protect them, Father, and return them to their families. Heal them of their trauma. In the Name of Jesus, who has heard their prayers, Amen!