The Church of the Brethren, also known as ‘Eklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria’ (EYN), said 8,370 members of the denomination have been killed since the outbreak of Boko Haram violence.
EYN, which is rooted in Nigeria’s northeast, with headquarters in Adamawa State, has about 1.5 million members worshipping in its branches mostly across the North-East.
President of the EYN, Rev Joel Billi, who addressed a world press conference on Thursday, in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, chronicled how insurgency had affected the church.
He said, “Apart from more than 8,370 members and eight pastors of the EYN who were killed by Boko Haram, over 700,000 members were displaced.
“53 of the 60 District Church Councils of the EYN were directly affected by insurgency, with 300 of the 586 branches either burnt or damaged by Boko Haram. An uncountable number of houses of our members were either burnt or looted.”
The EYN President added that many members of the church had been abducted and that 217 of the abducted 276 Chibok school girls belong to the EYN family.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to ensure the rescue of the remaining Chibok girls as well as Leah Sheribu, Alice Loksha and hundreds abducted by Boko Haram.
He lamented that many communities, especially communities in Gworza local government area of Borno State, had been deserted after repeated Boko Haram attacks.
The EYN President appealed to Buhari to station a battalion of soldiers there so that residents who fled from attacks and are now in refugee camps in Cameroon or IDP camps across Nigeria could return home.
He also called on the government to reconstruct the houses, schools and worship places destroyed by the insurgents.