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[Today’s Prayer] Nigerian believer jailed for more than 500 days on blasphemy charges

A Christian woman who had been imprisoned for more than 500 days on charges of ‘blasphemy’ in Nigeria has been released on bail. However, if found guilty, she could face up to five years in prison.

According to the British Christian Post (CP), Rhoda Jatau, a devout Christian and mother of five children, spent 19 months in prison.

She has been on trial at an undisclosed location on charges of sharing a video criticizing the assault death of a Christian identified as Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, according to ADF International, a Christian legal group.

Yakubu, a student attending a university in the northwestern state of Sokoto, was falsely accused of blaspheming Islam after posting on social media last year sharing, “Thank you to Jesus for helping me pass my exam.”

When she took up her position, her classmates targeted her and burned her to death because she shared her Christian faith.

Jatau, who was enraged by the incident, left a post of criticism on WhatsApp. In response, the mob arrested Jatau, a mother of five, on charges of “blasphemy,” and she was jailed in May.

She had previously had her bail requests rejected several times. However, as the case became public and criticism from the international community arose, a Bauchi State judge recently granted her bail.

Her trial is scheduled to resume on December 19, but could be postponed until 2024 due to holiday schedules.

“She, a Christian and a mother, was charged under sections 114 (public disturbance) and 210 (insulting religion) of the Bauchi State Penal Code,” said Sean Nelson, legal counsel for the International Union for the Defense of Liberty, which is in support of Jatau. “I am delighted to see that she has finally been granted bail,” he said.

“No one should be punished for peaceful expression, and defenders of religious freedom must continue to speak out on Rhoda’s behalf. “We will continue to pursue justice for her and hope that the unjust charges will be dropped once and for all.”

Given the prevalence of blasphemy incidents such as the Jatau and Yakubu incidents in northern Nigeria, UN experts issued a report to the Nigerian government in October with a letter stating that “Nigeria’s blasphemy law violates international human rights standards.” In this letter signed by five special rapporteurs, the United Nations emphasized that “Jatau’s imprisonment is an ‘unjust violation of human rights.’”

According to Open Doors, a Christian persecution watchdog, persecution of Christians in Nigeria is worsening, with 5,500 Christians murdered last year.


And swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:6-7)

In Nigeria, we hear that a sister named Rhoda was imprisoned for blasphemy for sharing a video criticizing the assault and death of a Christian. She was denied bail several times before finally getting it approved.

Lord, would you please protect our local brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are being assaulted and killed just for posting their gratitude for Jesus on social networks, and who are being jailed for sharing the videos criticizing it.

May you protect Sister Rhoda and her family who are going through hardships, and allow the trial to proceed smoothly and result in an acquittal. Let the global church pray together with one heart so that Sister Rhoda can come out of prison free, and may we see Nigeria return to the Lord, just as the prison door was opened and even the guard turned to the Lord while Paul and Silas were worshipping.

May you increase the faith of our Nigerian brothers and sisters who are walking along the path Jesus walked, carrying His cross first. Especially in times like these, may you help them arm themselves with even greater boldness to spread the gospel, looking forward to the day of our Lord's return.

He who lives forever and ever has said that He will not delay. Just like the gospel that the global church equally believes in, would you help them look toward the time when the mystery of God is fulfilled, and become the Nigerian church that endures the present and advances toward the nations with the gospel.

Therefore, may the day quickly come when Africa and all nations return to the Lord and partake in the fulfillment of God's secrets through the Nigerian church!


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