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Nigeria: Christian students sue universities over worship ban

by Heather Preston
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Two universities in Nigeria’s Katsina State are facing legal action after banning Christian groups from hosting meetings and worship on campus.

Christian religious activities have been “indefinitely prohibited” at the public universities, with one shutting down all church worship and fellowship centres on site. Meanwhile, Muslim students at both locations remain permitted to exercise their faith through meetings and worship on the university grounds.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has filed a lawsuit against the two institutions, on the grounds of religious discrimination.

One Christian university student in Katsina said: “We only want to be able to freely gather and worship as Christians on equal terms with other religious faiths. It is wrong that our universities are preventing us from exercising our most basic, fundamental rights.”

CAN has condemned the “worrisome” rise in Christian discrimination in the country and called for “the right to worship freely, on campus and elsewhere, will be fully restored.” 

Sean Nelson, ADF International’s lead attorney on the case, has labelled the actions by these state and federal universities “unjust”.

“The world continues to watch as Nigerian authorities regularly violate the religious freedom rights of their citizens,” she said. “This kind of discrimination against Christian students cannot be allowed to spread. These two universities should immediately revoke these discriminatory policies and allow Christians on their campuses to gather and worship freely.”  

Data shows over 4,000 Christians were killed for their faith in Nigeria in the past year, while a 2023 report suggests more Christians are killed in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world.

In December 2023, at least 200 Christians lost their lives in a Christmas attack by Muslim militants on villages in Plateau State.

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