Bishop Nyam of the Church of Nigeria remarked, “We saw it coming” in reference to the tragic event that occurred.
Pastor Sunday Madumere and his family were suddenly awakened in the middle of a peaceful April night in 2003, by the strong smell of smoke. Madumere struggled to see through the thick smoke as he crawled towards his wife, his eyes filled with tears and his breathing becoming increasingly laboured. Despite his best efforts, Madumere collapsed to the ground due to the smoke inhalation.
Madumere was a passionate preacher in Nigeria, and his effective ministry often incurred the wrath of Muslim militants. His powerful sermons led to numerous conversions to the Christian faith, which infuriated the militants, who sought revenge. In a cowardly act, the militants set fire to Madumere’s house, resulting in the death of the pastor, his wife, and most of his family. Daniel, Madumere’s son, was the only survivor but he was badly injured.
Similar incidents have occurred in Nigeria’s northern regions, where Muslim extremists have murdered several Christians and church leaders. Years ago, a Christian man named Gideon Akaluka was brutally killed, and extremists paraded his severed head through the streets. The Nigerian government seemed powerless or unwilling to make a difference.
Christians in Nigeria are well aware of the dangers they face daily. Although the number of fatalities is increasing, the faith of those who survive remains strong. The inspiring stories of those who have given their lives for their faith provide surviving Christians with the courage to face the future, no matter what it holds.