Monday, February 26, 2018

LDS Missionary Activity Expands into Northern Nigeria - Bauchi, Kaduna, and Plateau States

Reports from local members and recently returned full-time missionaries who served in the Nigeria Enugu Mission report an unprecedented expansion of official LDS proselytism efforts into the central and northern Nigerian states of Bauchi, Kaduna, and Plateau. These three states are inhabited by 19 million people according to 2016 estimates. Returned full-time missionaries report that several cities have had full-time missionaries assigned for the first time in decades, if not ever. These cities include:
  • Bauchi (population: 415,000)
  • Jos (population: 925,000)
  • Kaduna (population: 1.78 million)
These three cities have not appeared to have had full-time missionaries assigned, if missionaries were ever assigned since the first branches were created, since the early 1990s when the Church organized the Nigeria Jos Mission in 1992. The mission was later relocated to Enugu and renamed the Nigeria Enugu Mission in 1993 due to concerns with religious violence in the Middle Belt of Nigeria where significant clashes occur between Christians and Muslims. Missionary activity and church growth in Bauchi, Kaduna, and Plateau States stood at a virtual standstill after the first official LDS congregations were organized in Jos (1992), Bauchi (1993), and Kaduna (1993) until about 1-2 years ago. Since this time, the Church has organized several new congregations during the past 14 months including a third branch in Jos, a second congregation in Kaduna (Goningora Branch), a member group in Bauchi, and the first branches in two cities in Plateau State - Bassa and Bukuru. Also, the Church recently completed construction on a church-build meetinghouse for the Kaduna Ward. Local members report that many, if not most, members in these cities speak the Hausa language although few ethnic Hausa have appeared to join the Church due to strong ethnoreligious ties with Islam. Only a couple LDS materials have been translated into Hausa. No translations of LDS scriptures are available in Hausa.

Despite this progress, the Church continues to report an extremely limited presence in northern Nigeria where Muslims constitute a strong majority and the legal system is founded on sharia law in regards to legal matters for Muslims (click here for more information). Most converts appear to be non-Muslims and the Church has generally avoided overt proselytism efforts among Muslim populations in areas where sharia law is implemented. Moreover, political instability, religious and ethnic violence, Boko Haram insurgency, and poverty pose safety challenges. However, there remain good prospects for growth, and unique opportunities for missionaries to teach those with a Muslim background, in these recently opened cities.

For more information about prospective missionary activity in northern Nigerian states without an LDS presence, read my case study, Prospective LDS Outreach in Northern Nigeria, posted in December 2015 on


Eduardo Clinch said...

Those are some major cities. Towns that a friend and I served in Chile had numbers below 5,000. Like Curanilahue, Los Alamos, Santa Juana, maybe Coihueco. I would like to know their current numbers.

Mike Johnson said...

2012 Census

Curanilahue 32,000
Los Alamos 19,494
Santa Juana 13,228
Coihueco 25,159

Eduardo Clinch said...

Wow, those numbers seem so high! Thanks. Coihueco in the north of the 8th Region seemed so small it felt like I got to know everyone in 3 months. That was 1991. We baptized 3 adult males, one of whom became branch president later.
I wonder how far out in the country that 2012 census goes? I met a few people in the near countryside who hsd not met missionaries before. I wonder if a couple miles out counts toward that number.
Santa Juana seemed bigger because residences were more spread across plots of land. I wonder if the numbers doubled since the early 90s?
It took a long time to find a good local branch president there.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Upland California Stake just lost another ward. That puts it at 4 wards and a branch. This makes me wonder if we will see some stake consolidations and realignments. On the other hand the El Centro California Imoerial Valley Stake has last at 4 wards for a while so we will see.