Nigeria: A miracle – John’s story

 By John Pontifex, ACN United KingdomREPORTAGE - MARDI

Adapted by ACN Canada

“We were kneeling down. The priest was about to raise the host and say ‘This is the Lamb of God’ when we heard a car smash through the wall outside the church. Then there was a huge explosion, and I lost consciousness.”

John Abba describes the moment in October 2012 when a suicide bomber targeted his church of St Rita’s, north Kaduna.John is in the church choir, and I interviewed him in the precise spot where he was kneeling when the explosion took place.I met John alongside seven others in the choir maimed for life by the attack. Some had lost an eye, others had shrapnel wounds.

John said: “People thought I was dead. I was lying in a pool of blood. They shouted my name and thought it was a miracle when I responded.

“I could not see at all. The doctors told me mine was a hopeless case. But I never stopped trusting in God. For two months and 10 days, I was blind and then – after many operations – my sight began to return in one eye. When people hear my story, they often look at me and say yes, there is a God.”

As well as supporting priests who offer pastoral support for the victims, ACN has sponsored inter-faith dialogue initiatives aimed at quelling unrest in the wake of atrocities.

• On 22nd March 2013, people praying at St Martin’s Church, Ganye, eastern Nigeria, ran for their lives when militants attacked their church. For a full report with video, interviews and photos, visit www.acnuk.org/nigeria

REPORTAGE - MARDI 2Esther ’s Bible

This is three-year-old Esther Dowda from Zaria, northern Nigeria.She is holding ACN’s Child’s Bible in Hausa, a major language in northern Nigeria.

We met Esther in the bombed-out remains of her church, St Stephen’s, where her father, Ibrahim, was reading her the Child’s Bible.

Thanks to you, ACN has printed and distributed 100,000 Child’s Bibles in Hausa and similar numbers have been provided in Yoruba and Tiv languages.

Another 200,000 have been despatched in Igbo language.

Across the country, English language copies top 250,000.

Ibrahim, said: “Esther really enjoys the stories I read to her and she loves the colourful pictures.”




“Were it not for your prayers, it would have been much worse.”


Excerpt:     “For the first three months at the church, I could not sleep. Shooting and killing go on outside my church. They throw stones into my churchyard and fling dead animals over the church wall.”




5,000 seminarians in Nigeria 


Excerpt:        “People – even our families – sometimes ask why we want to risk our lives as priests but we are not afraid.”



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