The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, otherwise addressed in Hausa as Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYA), said it lost 1,390 church auditoriums to Boko Haram insurgents.
President of the EYN, Rev Joel Billi who addressed a press briefing at the church headquarters in Kwarhi on Wednesday as part of the centenary activities of the church, said the Boko Haram insurgency has posed the greatest stress to the church in its 100 years in Nigeria.
The church which started in Garkida in 1923 and currently has its headquarters in Kwarhi, Adamawa State, is described as the biggest Church of the Brethren denomination in the world.
The church has most of its local congregations in Adamawa State, the rest of the North East, as well as parts of the North Central, especially in Jos, Plateau State, where the church temporarily moved its headquarters to in 2014 when the now rebuilt headquarters in Kwarhi was destroyed by Boko Haram attackers.
The EYN president said at the Wednesday press briefing: “At the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency, 36 of the then 50 EYN DCCs were completely displaced. Seven were partially closed, with only seven DCC not directly affected by insurgency.
“Of the 456 local councils and 2280 local church branches at that time, 278 LCC buildings and 1,390 LCB church auditoriums were destroyed by the insurgents.”
The EYN president said a huge number of members of the church had been killed or abducted by insurgents and that abduction of church members had continued to date.
He added: “All glory to God because though the insurgency was orchestrated to uproot Christianity in its area of operation, God in his faithfulness used the insurgency to propagate the gospel and expand the frontiers of EYN in Nigeria and the Cameroons.”
He explained that many of those who were displaced by Boko Haram “carried their faith to wherever they went,” and that “today, several EYN churches have sprung up in places where our members went to sojourn because of the insurgency.”