Churches Declared Illegal in Nigerian State

All churches in Nigeria's Kano State have been declared illegal on environmental and legal grounds, and 17 are already demolished, according to a report from Timothy Olonade, executive secretary of the Nigeria Evangelical Missionary Association. The move follows last year's introduction of Muslim "sharia" law in the state. Nine other states in the predominantly-Muslim north of the country have also introduced the strict Islamic code. Olonade said that the Kano move was an attempt "to wipe out any physical trait of Christianity as fast as possible."

The developments have made life for the Christian minority in northern Nigeria "always difficult...fast becoming intolerable," according to the World Evangelical Fellowship Religious Liberty Commission.

Elsewhere in the county, four churches in Jigawa State were burned down in June by rioting Muslim youths, after the publication of a book by a Christian author whose writings were said to be blasphemous. Scores of Christians are reported to have fled the state capital, Dutse, for fear of further violence.