Militants Threaten Christian Hospital Workers In Nigeria

Muslim militants have made death threats directed towards Christian nurses serving at the Federal Medical Center in the central state of Nasarawa, Nigeria
( [email protected] ) Oct 14, 2004 08:33 PM EDT

Muslim militants have made death threats directed towards Christian nurses serving at the Federal Medical Center in the town of Keffi, in the central state of Nasarawa, Nigeria, a news agency reported Wednesday. An undated letter received by the hospital’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Nurses (FCN) said that unless the nurses stopped conducting Christian worship services, they would be killed.

“We are making it abundantly clear that our thirst for your heads/blood is mounting daily if you continue with your worship services in the hospital unabated,” the letter stated, as reported by Compass Direct.

The group said that it has a strong presence in the hospital and would do everything possible to deal with all Christian health workers there.

The letter carried no names and was simply endorsed by a group calling itself “Islamic fundamentalists,” but reportedly caused panic at the hospital and prompted institutional authorities to ban all Christian worship activities.

Christiana Shiaki, secretary of the local chapter of the FCN, told Compass that Dr. B.A. Abiminku, medical director and chief executive at Keffi Federal Medical Center, had sent the nurses a letter stating that Christian-related activities at the facility had been banned.

“Following the events of last week ... which occurred within the center, Management has decided that Christian religious activities at the center is suspended in the interim,” Abiminku wrote.

Shiaki told Compass that the ban on Christian activities at the hospital denies Christian nurses and other health workers the privilege to exercise their faith as guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria.

“We are being discriminated against because we are Christians,” she said. “We have not done anything wrong to deserve this. How can they ban us from praying or worshipping here when the Muslims have two mosques built with public funds for them here in the hospital?”

The FCN secretary also said that for the past five years, the Christian community at the hospital has been pleading for space to build a chapel to serve health workers and patients, but the request had been turned down.

Nigeria’s chapter of the FCN was established in 1960, the year the country attained independence from Britain. The fellowship is affiliated with the Nurses Christian Fellowship International, headquartered in Scotland.