Monday, Nsibiet & Fidelis_captionAKWA, NIGERIA February 25, 2014—Because of recent violence between Muslims and Christians, Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI) has decided to postpone its prison ministry conference for over 200 pastors in Akwa, Nigeria. However, CBI will proceed with the opening of its second Nigerian satellite campus.

Muslim-Christian violence in the region has been escalating rapidly. According to an article in today’s New York Times, Boko Haram (a terrorist group whose name means “Western education is sinful”) is increasingly targeting civilians; their victims include 29 schoolboys killed in an attack earlier this week. A United Nations humanitarian agency estimates that over 1,200 people have been killed in Boko Haram-related attacks.

CBI president Dr. David Schuringa had appointed Dr. Tim Spykstra as an executive ambassador to lead the pastors’ conference scheduled for early April. Dr. Spykstra had also planned to visit CBI’s satellite campus in Rivers State, Nigeria, and to attend the launch of the country’s new campus, located in Akwa Ibom State. (The campus directors’ names have been omitted for security reasons.)

However, a travel warning issued by the US State Department recommended against all but essential travel. Despite plans to hire a personal security detachment, CBI decided that the trip was unduly dangerous.

“I would have gone to Nigeria in a heartbeat, but the safety of our Nigerian brothers is essential,” said Dr. Spykstra, who expressed concern about gathering so many Christian leaders together in one place, where they could be a target for attacks.

“We are confident that postponing the conference is in everyone’s best interest,” said Sandra Chang Raak, CBI’s international coordinator. “And we rejoice that this delay will not disrupt the opening of our new campus.”

Despite the violence, CBI Nigeria carries on its work in the country’s prisons, where prisoners often lack key resources, including mattresses, clean water and Bibles. CBI Nigeria seeks to meet material needs while offering personalized discipleship to prisoners.

Dr. Schuringa requests prayers for the Nigerian people. “The violence in the region is a sign that the light of Christ is needed all the more, in prison and in society,” he said.

To read more on this subject, click here.