Thousands of Christians on Tuesday declared Dec. 26 'Jesus Day' in Lagos, Nigeria.
World Rescue Ministries International (WORMINT), an international missionary agency headquartered in Nigeria, organized the declaration with the support of churches and Christian associations, reported the Nigerian newspaper Daily Champion.
"The December 26 Jesus Day has come to stay. No government, no authority shall stop it," said Pastor Japhet E. Uboh, one of the rally coordinators, to the participants, according to Daily Champion.
Formerly, Dec. 26 was Boxing Day in Nigeria. Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom and most of the Commonwelath countries on the day after Christmas. On the holiday, people give presents or Christmas "boxes" to tradesmen, such as the mailman or paper-boy, for the good service throughout the year.
The participants of Tuesday’s event gave several prayers and declarations for peace in the country, especially with the next year’s presidential election.
Nigeria will conduct an election in April marking the first fully democratic handover since its independence in 1960.
WORMINT international coordinator, Prince Ben Ukadike urged the crowd to wear Jesus T-shirts and caps, display Jesus emblems and stickers as evangelism tools, and construct Jesus billboards.
Ukadike and other Christian leaders said at the event that the Jesus signs and items will be weapons against immorality in society. He emphasized that society’s problems are more spiritual than physical and are more effectively resolved spiritually through the name of Jesus, according to Daily Champion.
"Without Jesus, all is delusion, all is misery, all is confusion," said the Rev. Francis Okeremgbo, assistant director superintendent of an Assemblies of God Church. "But with Jesus, demons will bow, killings will bow, political assassinations will bow…"
The Western African nation consists of about 40 percent Christians and 50 percent Muslims, according to the CIA World Factbook. It is roughly split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south with minorities of both religions living where the other faith is dominant. Sectarian violence is ongoing with thousands of deaths because of religious strife since democracy was restored in 1999.
Recently, 18 churches were burned in Nigeria, reportedly sparked by a dispute between a Muslim and Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Mohammad.
"Nigeria is our Jerusalem. Lagos is our Jerusalem. Let peace reign in Nigeria," said the Rev. Okeremgbo. "Let the purpose of God for Nigeria prevails against any plan of man against the nation."