Niger, West Africa
Political Leader: President Mamadou Tandja
Religions: Islam 97.6%, Traditional 2%, Christianity 0.4%
Persecution Ranking: Not Ranked
Number of Terrorist Groups: 1
Acts of Terrorism: 1; Casualties: 0
Percent of Corruption: 77%
% of People in Poverty: 63%
Niger’s subtropical climate is mainly very hot and dry, with much desert area. In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on the edges of the Niger River basin. The terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes with flat to rolling savannah in the south and hills in the north.
The 15% of Niger's land that is arable is found mainly along its southern borders with Nigeria, Benin, and Burkina Faso. Rainfall varies and when insufficient, Niger has difficulty feeding its population and must rely on grain purchases and food aid to meet food requirements.
Niger is the poorest country in the world, ranking last on the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index . It is a landlocked, sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Drought cycles, desertification, a 2.9% population growth rate, and the drop in world demand for uranium have undercut the economy.
In January 2008, Niger President Mamadou Tandja described the actions by the rebel Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) in the north of the country as “terrorism aimed at instilling insecurity and fear among the population,” africanpress.com reported. Niger has faced rebel attacks in the north of the country for the past one year. Tandja said “this random and deliberate violence” has for some time taken a new turn, resulting in the murderous attacks on the roads and the laying of anti-tank mines in several places. The president urged region governors, prefects and heads of administrative posts to rally the population against the crisis. The MNJ, which has been in conflict with the Niamey government since February 2007, has already carried out several deadly attacks against military targets, mining companies and civilians.
Religion: Although Niger is predominantly Muslim, there is a surprising openness—albeit general unresponsiveness—to the Christian message. Many Muslims are willing to listen. Despite constitutional religious freedom, pressures exist to make the nation more Islamic.
Challenges for Christians:
Christian radio stations in Niger’s capital, Niamey, have helped prepare the hearts of many nomadic Tamajaq and Fulani. Some Fulani, feeling the effects of famine, are opening up to the message of Jesus due to the response of Christians who brought relief to them. Encouraging progress is also being made among the Tamajaq. This Muslim land is open for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but there are too few missionaries to cover all the opportunities. Nevertheless, national Believers have a growing vision for church planting and evangelism. Challenges include a shortage of pastors, educated Christian women, and mature, well-trained leadership.
- Pray that the demonic forces that are using the rebel Niger Movement for Justice like puppets will be toppled, and that the people will be set free to worship the Lord. Pray that their leaders will experience conversion to Christianity. (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
- Pray for the Lord’s favor on the land of Niger. Pray that He will do a miracle to counteract all the devastation and food shortages that the 2005 drought and locust infestation caused, which affected as many as 2.5 million people in this nation.
- It’s clear that there is political instability in Niger and many changes. Pray for the new leadership of Seyni Oumarou. In June 2007 he was nominated as the new Prime Minister after Hama Amadou was democratically forced out of office by the National Assembly through a motion of no confidence. Pray that his heart would be drawn to God and that he would make noble and just decisions that are honoring to the Lord. Pray for the salvation of President Mamadou Tandja and other government leaders.
- Pray that Niger’s private radio stations will plant many seeds in the hearts of these precious people and that Christians may use this medium for the glory of God. Pray that all 27 languages and dialects of Niger will soon have a radio broadcast, Gospel recordings, and a complete Bible.
- Pray for the supernatural release of the thousands of people that are still living in subjugation according to anti-slavery organizations, even though Niger technically banned the centuries-old practice of slavery in 2003. Pray that God would display His power and might in mitigating justice for these precious lives.
- Truly, a miracle is needed for the thousands of Nigerians, including so many little children who are dying from widespread disease. Pray that relief organizations would rally to help improve the country’s basic health system.
- Pray for new economic revitalization in Niger. The drought-prone country sometimes struggles to feed its people. Its main export, uranium, is prone to price fluctuations, and agriculture is threatened by the encroaching desert. Pray for favor as Niger bargains on oil exploration and gold mining to boost its wealth.
- Pray that existing Christian churches will experience a mighty visitation of the Holy Spirit that will transform them into powerful witnesses for Christ. Pray for more laborers to be sent with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, AllAfrica.com, Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook, BBC News, Global Prayer Digest PP, Serving in Missions, africanpress.com