Christian Missions among Nigeria-Niger Border Communities: Strategies and Methods

Cite this article: Sarka, M. I. (2022). “Christian Missions among Nigeria-Niger Border Communities: Strategies and Methods”. Sokoto Journal of History Vol. 11. Pp. 189-199.


The paper discusses the strategies and approaches adopted by the Christian missionaries along the Nigerian and Niger Republic border to influence and convert the people to accept the religion. The Christian missionaries introduced different socio-economic activities and sometimes political diplomacy to influence the mental and moral behavior of the people. The missionaries saw themselves as light to the society through civilization and western education; they marked themselves as superior through widespread of western literacy, modern hygiene, firearms, crops, shoes, clothing, canned goods, bicycles, compasses and lamps. Along the Nigeria-Niger border, certain economic incentives were used by the missionaries to attracts new converts. The missions also developed certain teaching techniques as learning procedures to train converts to imbibe commercial character to obtain income and sustain their life. The paper investigates what these strategies are and how they facilitate the evangelization process of the Nigeria-Niger border communities.

Key Words: Christianity, Evangelization, Nigeria, Niger, Border Communities

DOI: 10.36349/sokotojh.2022.v11i01.007


Mustapha Idris Sarka
Department of History
Adamu Augie College of Education, Argungu


The paper discusses the strategies and approaches adopted by the Christian missionaries along the Nigerian and Niger Republic border to influence and convert the people to accept the religion. The Christian missionaries introduced different socio-economic activities and sometimes political diplomacy to influence the mental and moral behavior of the people. The missionaries saw themselves as light to the society through civilization and western education; they marked themselves as superior through widespread of western literacy, modern hygiene, firearms, crops, shoes, clothing, canned goods, bicycles, compasses and lamps. Along the Nigeria-Niger border, certain economic incentives were used by the missionaries to attracts new converts. The missions also developed certain teaching techniques as learning procedures to train converts to imbibe commercial character to obtain income and sustain their life. The paper investigates what these strategies are and how they facilitate the evangelization process of the Nigeria-Niger border communities.

Key Words: Christianity, Evangelization, Nigeria, Niger, Border Communities

Background to Christian Missions along Nigeria-Niger Border

The Missionary societies arrived in Nigeria with hopes of converting the whole people to Christianity. However, in the 19th century, they changed their intentions to convert the vast Muslim Emirates to Christianity. They therefore engage in different socio-economic and political services to convince people to accept Christianity. To influence people, they adopted various strategies like provision of education, medical or healthcare services, charity and welfare services like provision of social activities, food, money motorcycles, etc. When the Christian missionaries realized the difficulty in the realization of their aims in the Muslim North, different missionary organizations adopted different methods to spread the gospel so as to obtained converts. The mission use charity, humanitarian aids, schools, hospitals, public preaching, and distribution of reading material and pamphlets containing pictures.1 Currently the missions use modern social media platforms and modern Radios station (F.M Radio, national radio stations, States Radio stations, international radio, Androids Mobile Phone Applications etc) to spread messages of the gospel.

The missionaries came with the intention of converting people of Northern Nigerian and Niger republic to Christianity through proper planned and projected aims of medical assistance, education, material and non-material items like skills of farming, cattle rearing, money, clothes can drinks like milk, beans etc. the good characters of the mission changed their image in the eyes of Muslims and

1            M.U.Bunza & S.U. Junaidu, Christian Missionary Activities in Sokoto State: An Evaluation of their Impact on the Development of Western Education, The BEAM, Journal of Arts and Science, Vol.2 No.1, Haliru Binji College of Arts and Science, Sokoto, 1999, p.25.


people of African traditional religion, yet Christianity and mission commitment did not yield much result despite the missionaries efforts of rejection material lives in Europe and stalled in the remote border villages to preach the gospel despite the danger, they sacrifice their lives to the spread of Christianity, their aims were to converts people as born again Christian along the border, but the Christian missions produced little success. The Christian mission have in their mind that failure to convert or succeed is not only their efforts but God‘s will and intervention, the mission desire to change people‘s hearts from Islam and African traditional religion to belief in Jesus Christ yield low result but some mission hold that ours is to saw the seed, His to make it grow‖.2 Therefore their role is to evangelize the people but conversion is the work of God.

Evangelism in Niger Republic border involved the same steps and procedure with little differences in the approach as in Nigerian borderland. In all areas Bible were used to preach the gospel to people and convince the listeners.   The Christian missions held services and preach to people in local languages. Christianity sometimes makes its converts to adopt new attitude, customs, and even native dress was partially changed in Niger republic border but in Nigeria changes were little, people still retain their cultural dress and language (border communities). You may see a Reverend father wearing Hausa fabric with cap looking like a Muslim, and sometimes may do Islamic greetings (salama). The Christian missions also developed and teach the converts the commercial character to obtain income and sustain their life. They introduced a highly centralized customs and social organization like that of Europe.3

Christian Missions occupy a specially privileged position, the border Christian missions personal of Nigeria consist of Western, native and non-native Christian missions and as such they depend on the government permission through application to the District officer who will ascertain whether the people were desirous to have mission among them or hostile to it. But sometimes it happened without the  consent of people their chief may welcome and accept the missionary.4 In Niger republic the western missionaries as of 2020 are more than 10 in border areas, with native or indigenous pastors holding the leadership position of the churches under the supervision of the European missions. According to Burt they left Nigeria because there are educated people to handle the evangelization in Nigeria but in Niger republic the Christian are very few therefore they need guidance.5

Christian Mission and Use of Modern Technology

The missions of both Nigeria and Niger republic observed impacts of the use of modern technology as the new strategy for the spread of Christianity along the border. The missions developed and trust in the power of technology for the spread of the Gospel. For instance Sudan Interior Mission (S.I.M) used modern technology, literature and radio stations to evangelize and inform people about Christianity. Numerous publications and printed paper work were made available for the people to read, publications like The Sudan Witness, which shows the images, success and failures of the Christianization missions on printed materials and distributed to the people to know the trends of the mission and their impact to the population. The missions use the Sudan witness to convey the


2            Mr. Burt ,SIM Western Missionary , Junju,

3            L.F.Lugard The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, Routledge, London,1965, p79 4          Ibid. p.342-343

5            Oral Interview, Mr. Burt White mission in Junju.



message of the mission conditions in Africa. Photography were use as an instrument in the preaching process, missionaries showed Africans photos that had been published in magazines and newspapers and then transitioned to biblically–based photos and posters to convey the gospel.6

In early 1893, Gawons went to Toronto , England and Scotland to try and raise money for African mission.7 In 1904-1911, Bingham renamed the Evangelical Christian he established Evangelical Publishers which printed a steady stream of devotional books, he also took over the SIM‘ African Publisher and Niger Press established by Benfield (Linguist).8 The SIM occupied a unique place on the area of using modern technology to spread gospel.

Media- the growing of media and smart phones has brought easy way of spreading the gospel. The missions transmit their programs easily to the public which were accessed by the youth and elders. For instance, Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) established magazines known as Today‘s challenge (TC) in which it pass vital information to the people and it members through careful use of the printed materials. The introduction of social media platforms made the Christian to adopt the modern system by engaging the use of laptops and android mobile phones to send the gospel message through facebook, F.M radio programs, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc. the recent development of the media programs have favorably help in the spread of the missions to reach business communities, Muslims, civil servants, educators at their leisure time.9etc

The magazines like Sudan Witness serves as a door through which information on conversions and experience of the missions in various areas were shared. The missionaries wrote stories about their experiences in proselytizing process and collective efforts of the mission towards conversion. In Niger republic the local church denomination emerged from SIMs work under auspicious circumstances.10 In 1912, the missionaries under Bingham established Evangelical publishers to publish periodical, books, and pamphlets that were used as instrument of the spread of gospel.i.e the missionary Witness in 1909 which treated the story of the Sudan Interior Mission, the Burden of the Sudan, The story of the Sudan Interior Mission, seven sevens of the years. etc.

The African Challenge helps the Western educated youth with methods to confront communism and materialism after the World War II. The SIM published 5,000 copies of African challenge in its maiden issue of July 1951 but within two years the mission double the production by producing 120, 000 copies in a month. The SIM formed a university denomination and para-church

6            Barnes Transforming African‘s religious landscape. P25.

7            Toronto Bible Training School was established to spread and teach several prospective missionaries well train young people (male and female) for missionary evangelic work. Latter Toronto Bible College was owned and operated by Rev. Elmore Harris , a wealthy Baptist minister, and a member of the Massey-Harris farm implement company, he build and pay two churches and endowed the Baptist seminary. Toronto becomes one of the great missionary-sending centers of the world, the Faithful Witness called it the missionary Capital of the World‖. It was the largest multinational, interdenominational faith mission founded and based in Canada. It graduated more than two Hundred missionaries in two years and it became center of conservative evangelicals of different denominations (South Africa General Mission, Scripture Gift Mission).

8            Alvyn Austin Toronto the Good‖: The Canadian roots of the Sudan Interior Mission in Transforming Africa‘s Religious landscapes. P41.

9            Ibid.

10        A. Mahamane,―History and Challenges of the Evangelical Church in Niger, 1923-1013: The Case of the Evangelic Church of the Republic of Niger (EERN)‖Babara M. Cooper, et al (ed) in Transforming Africa‟s Religious Landscapes: The Sudan Interior Mission Past and Present, London, Africa World Press, 2018.


organization. SIMs first Challenge study centre led to formation of Good News Bible Church. Bingham  in  1904  took  over  the  Faithful  witness‖  and  later  it  was  renamed  the  Evangelical Christian in 1911. Later Evangelical Publishers that printed a steady stream of devotional books took over from the SIMs African Publishers, Niger Press in 1917.11

With the establishment of modern Radio Stations and Android mobile phones, programs were expanded along the border so as to reach people with gospel. The F.M radio stations were funding from the United States to broadcast the mission programs on air to the people. There were powerful programs that covered some of the West African nations. The transmitting and broadcasting will go over 200 miles and it takes more than 300 hours program per week. The radio stations were religious stations that provided the great relationship between the missions and government. The Christian missions were licensed of transmission; they met the government and discuss issues of security and other matters. In Niger republic F.M Redio Guesheme, Maradi etc air programs on Christianity just like any F.M Radio in Nigeria. Many radio stations and F.M radio program were established along Nigeria-Niger borderland, that aired programs of missions i.e back to the Bible, thinking through the Bible, etc., the F.M Radio in Nigerian sides includes Sokoto caliphate F.M, Vision FM,Rima FM, Royal FM, and Freedom FM radio, in Kebbi the missions uses equity F.M, Kebbi State Radio, in Katsina Radio Nigeria FM,Pay power FM, Katsina,Vision FM etc.12 The training of the missions and conference led to the advancement of the programs, especially with involvement of religious leaders into politics as special advisers on the religious affairs, for instance in both Nigeria and Niger Republic the missions were advised not discuss sensitive issues that will not led to political crisis and marginalization.13

Humanitarian Services and Education as a Strategies of conversion along the Border

The Christian mission adopt the humanitarian services as a mean through which they can influenced the large number of border people to Christianity, the mission adopted kindness and care for the human dignity through financial assistance, provision of can foods and soft drinks, cloth, jobs and free medical services in Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic. Although some of the early converts along the border were convinced through charity like Malam Kaka of Kangiwa, Rev. Shuaibu Kanu Fingilla, in the case of Malam Kaka who lives in Kangiwa along Nigeria-Niger border of Kebbi- Dosso, he was attracted and converted many people to Christianity because of their charity, kindness and treatments they offered, he made mention that mishin a kwai Kirki meaning they are generous people. 14

In Niger Republic, the people of the border communities were converted due to economic gain and social status. The young men and women acknowledge the social life of the mission which attracted their minds and converted to Christianity. The mission zeal and intentions were to educated people on western education and better social life.   The idea of spread of western education is for the people to read the Bible, the missionaries offered free education, books, writing materials, feeding, special gifts of drinks and carne food from Europe and America to attract and influence the minds of

11        Jim Mason, Literature Outreach in Nigeria: A History of SIM literature Work, 1901-1980, Scarborough, Canada, 2009, pp12-13. See also Alvyn Austin in Transforming African‟s Religious Landscape.p43.

12        Ibid.

13        Cooper,  B.,  Engendering  A  Hausa  Vernacular  Christian  practice,‖,  Haour  A.  and  Rossi  B  (ed)  .  in  Being  and Becoming Hausa, interdisciplinary perspectives, African Social Studies series, 2010,

14        Interview Malam Kaka Kangiwa 76 Years, Kangiwa ,Kebbi State.



pupils. The school obviously helps towards conversion without serious obstacles from the public, the people are less suspicious and less concern of what is being taught in school than in Church. If we go from town to town talking only about God, we know by experience that much of our efforts bring no result, but no one is opposed to school.15 In Nigerian borderland of Kebbi, Sokoto and Katsina people were opposed to schooling in mission schools due to existence of Islamiya schools that was one of the reasons why government schools were rejected let alone mission schools except few sons of chiefs, government employees and sons of converts. People like Mamman Illela, Matankari of Sokoto, were among the early converts influenced as a result of mission school, and their children were also educated in mission schools and they become Pastors.16

Christian Mission schools played important roles and served as a meeting centre for the spread of the Gospel to children, because the schools were attended by both Muslims and children of the Christian converts. In many cases the school children were influenced with gifts, pictures, Cinema show and other materials that children can hardly reject. Among the border of Nigeria in Argungu Emirate (Arewa-Dandi Local government area of Kebbi State) four students were converted and send over Border to Niger Republic (Galmi) to further their studies on mission schools, they are Alhaji Sumana Yeldu,Dan Rabi Kangiwa,Momo Gagara, John Bello from Kamba with aim of spreading Gospel to their respective localities(Border areas), most of the schools are now demolished and renamed  like the case of Babbar Rugga of Katsina state, Kangiwa, Kamba, etc.17

Hausa Bible was translated by Dr. Walter Miller of the CMS and Stirrett in 1932. Stirret called for

100 Bible teachers to teach literacy, the students produced from the mission schools become evangelist by emulating Muslim methods of evangelizations. From 1920 upwards several societies including SIM had officially carried widespread of the Gospel in to the border area. The education policies of the Christian Mission give greater responsibility on the education for religious purposes, than literacy to population. The aim of the missionary societies is to establish school along the border as an instrument for making converts; to other people view them as instruments for making good and useful citizens.18 The Christian mission plans was first to master the language, for informal preaching of the gospel to peoples in wider world with hidden agenda of conversion. The existence of quranic educational background of people along border areas in Arabic and Ajami form of writing Hausa made people to put suspicion towards missionary work.19

The education giving by the missions were not fully on all areas like technology, but they concentrated on knowledge to read the Bible, Stirret explain that ― care must be exercise not to introduced subjects on the curriculum other than reading the Bible and writing, because if subjects such as English, Mathematics, Commercial Arithmetic, Book-keeping and other worldly arts and


15        Bunza, M.U., Christian Missions among Muslims: Sokoto Province, Nigeria, 1935-1990,Africa World press,USA,2007,p. 43, see also, F.K.Ekechi, Missionary Enterprise and Rivalry in Igboland, 1971,p176.

16        Ibid

17        Oral Interview, Malam Kaka Kangiwa, 2013, Kangiwa at his residence.

18        Carr, H., Special Annual Report on the Schools in Southern Provinces of Nigeria, see in O.U.Kalu, Church Unity and Religious Change in Africa, (eds) F.Edwards et, al, Christianity in Independent Africa, London,Rex Collings, 1978, p179.

19        The missions developed the ideas of learning different languages so as to translate the bible into the languages for easy spread of the gospel. The missions tried to prepare publications in colloquil Arabic and Hausa with hope that Christian literature will find it way into Muslim areas.


science are taught they become a source of temptation to the pupil to enter Government Service receive a lucrative position and often to spend his substance on riotous living… As soon as a young man has been taught to read his Hausa Bible fluently and write, let him go.20 Christian Missions created centers of education in both Nigeria and Niger like Igbaja, Egbe,Kagoro, Kwoi, Kaltungo, Billiri,Omu Aran, etc. the Missions commitments to educations was only needed for   evangelism and its pre-millennial theology, they think evangelist need no extensive education but education to read the Bible. It may be correct to say Missions was anti lslam in Hausaland. For instance, in Niger Republic schools were established in every area of missionary influence like what happened in Nigeria, schools like Roni outside Kano, Yawuri in Kebbi state, Charles clarify the statement we have more converted Moslems in school than in any other place in the north that I know of.‖21 Converts would meet for worship, they were encouraged to discard their manners and change their mode of living, the natives easily dropped their traditional way of live and adopted the Europeans culture like dress, foods., ceremonies etc in Niger republic such mission schools and hospitals were established in colonial and post colonial period in almost all the mission station. i.e Maradi have 5 primary and secondary mission schools.

In order to accomplish the missionaries work along the border since the interior refused to accept the mission education, the first school established by the mission along Nigerian-Niger border is Argungu Emirate in 1930s was in (Kangiwa) Kukar Tunkara Unguwar Mato, Bui, Yeldu, Sokoto, Katsina mission schools was established in the areas. But in Niger Republic many parents and their children were converted through establishment of mission schools in areas of Gyasheme, and Maradi. The school obviously not the church or preaching provides more converts apart from medical services in leprosy centers.22 The missionaries began to see education as a means through which many people especially along the border may accept the religion. Christian Missions made a lot of efforts to introduced western education in Niger Republic so that people can be able to read the Bible. The establishment of mission schools in Maradi, Tsibiri, Zinder, Guescheme, etc influence western civilization in the areas of mission stations, therefore, western education influenced people more than any other means, one could argue that without the introduction of Western Education by the Christian mission in Niger Republic along the border areas there will be no Christianity. Provision of education was next to medical services in influencing and execution of mission agenda. To be high level Christian you must go through the school, attend services on Sunday, learned to recite and memorized Bible verses, pay leaves each month, attend meeting, prepare for the baptism to become a good Christian.23

Reading Bible is the most important thing in Christian religion. Therefore converts need to learn reading the Bible in English and indigenous languages and the mission take the responsibility of learning the local languages and translating the bible into the local languages with short stories that will influence the people to Christianity like Daga Kiwon Shanu Zuwa Kiwon Jama‟ar Allah,24,


20        Turaki Y, An introduction to the History of SIM/ECWA 138.

21        C.F.Beitzel, An industrial Boarding School,TSW 22,1, 1946,PP.5-7.

22        M.I.Sarka, A History of Christian Missionary Activities in Argungu Emirate from 1939-2018, M.A Dissertation, Usmanu Danfodiyo, University, Sokoto,p.12.

23        Interview Pastor Musa Gubawa, 56 years,

24        E.Doerkkson, Daga Kiwon Shanu Zuwa Kiwon Jama,ar Allah: Labarin Adamu Dogon Yaro,Challenge Publication 1974, re-printed by SIM in 2006.



Zuma littafi na Farko,25 and Zuma Littafi na Biyu,26and Isa ko Muhamadu ga wa zaku dogara27,Isah ko Muhammadu, Koyarwa ga masu bidan Tafarki,.28 These types of literature and books were written in western education and for youto understand the contents you must go to schools and learn the arts of reading and writing. English and French were used along the border as a means of communication and teaching in Christian mission schools with basic reading and writing skills together with agriculture and animal husbandry, unlike in Nigeria where there were no much agricultural lessons attached to mission education. ―Religion is the fundamental element in all true education‖ therefore the missionaries were sent to preach and teach in outdoors then presenting letters and symbols. The students were divided into grades and classes and according to sex in Nigeria, (the class for men and boys would be conducted by the ministry and women and girls by wife of the mission).

Zumuntar mata (Women Fellowship) meeting is held after instruction has been made in schools in Niger republic junior class is also held the same day with instruction. The missions in Niger republic observed that their affairs will not succeed without some secular economic and agricultural activities in connection with literacy training. Christian mission educations were give to the converts with the hope that they might read the Bible, write and do simple arithmetic. When the government observed the mission ideas behind education, government therefore collaborate with mission in giving education to the people but the government restricted them not to spread the Christianity and some mission schools were upgraded and become under the control of government.

The Christian Missions introduce salary structure of the civil servants to maintain their educated mission‘s converts and uplift their standard of living. Later private enterprises and government jobs were secured for them in State, National and public sectors for the success of their work. Despite the colonial government restricted establishment of Christian mission schools in the Muslim areas however, Christian mission schools were established even in the Muslim Emirates of Katsina, Kano, Zamfara,Sokoto,Kebbi etc.29 And it become the most powerful tools and means of conversion, the mission believed that, Christianity was a literate religion, and that it was necessary for the people to become literate so as to read and understand the messages in the Bible, with this in mind people began to join the mission schools so that to read the Bible. The mission trained the border people and Christian converts to become itinerant evangelist, preacher, interpreters, catechist and Bible teachers whom now become leaders and Reverend Fathers of the various churches. The missions trained personals work in the local, federal and states civil service. The schools served as the most important centre of learning and spread of the gospel to the people of the borderland.30

The mission realized that it would be less difficult to teach Christianity to children in school than to preach to their elder generation in Northern Nigeria. The missionaries therefore introduced schools



25        E.Burt, Zuma :Mu koyi Karatun Maganar Allah Littafi na 1,SIM Equipe Haussa, Niamey, 5005,

26.   Burt, Zuma :Mu koyi Karatun Maganar Allah Littafi na 2,SIM Equipe Haussa, Niamey, 5005,

27        Christian Literature Society, London,1964,

28        Isah ko Muhammadu, Koyarwa ga masu bidan Tafarki,

29        SNP/K.5533/1.1 Note on Mission Schools in Northern Provinces of Nigeria.

30        J.F.A.,Ajayi,‖ The development of secondary Grammar School Education in Nigeria, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, vol.2,no.4, 1963,p.517.


where children were taught religion and western education.31 The Christian missionaries did not only introduce new religious faith but also it changed the beliefs and life of millions of people through the foundation of western education. The result was that it produced swarms of young people in mission and colonial bureaucracy.32 In the mid-seventeenth century, the Christian religion survived and maintained its converts up to the nineteenth century, through western education giving to the younger generations and the trends continued. 33

Health Care Services as a Strategies of Conversion

The missionaries provided the modern medical services to the patients free of charge as charity and humanitarian services and as a means of conversion to Christianity along the borders and interior of Nigeria and Niger Republic. The provision of medical services started from the initial stage by the missionaries as to express their Christian love in action. The Christian missions made it compulsory that in every group of missionaries there must be medical doctor who will serve the Christian mission and local population with medical services. The Christian mission dispensaries, hospitals and leprosy settlements were established in different areas of the border as means of conversion, I,e people of Babbar Rugga Leprosy centre in Katsina with about 500 inhabitants were converted to Christianity through medical services, likewise in Niger republic the people of Danja of Maradi area along the border of Niger Republic similar to that of Babar Rugga also were converted through medical services of the mission just like the case of Amanawa in sokoto and Kalgo in Birnin Kebbi area.

Empirical evidence shows that of all the methods used by the missionaries along the border, to secure large number of converts, Health medical service played the most significant role through the treatments of the lepers which was the most dangerous diseases of that time. Before the introduction of the modern medical services, the lepers were treated through the use of local herbs which shows little result, but when the mission show much concern to the victims who were neglected, the mission show sympathy to the victims   they eat together with them despite the isolation and anxiety. According to Former Headmaster of Babar Rugga Katsina mission school who were also a products of the school said ― we eat together , we pray together and sometime we sleep together‖, with this the mission trap they converted thousands of people to Christianity‖. He further explained that the Christian missionaries give sermons before and after treatment, and they attached the cures to prayers not the drugs.34 The efficacy of the Christian mission medicine in treatments of various health issues made people of the border Christian in town of Babbar Rugga,and Danja communities of the border to accept Christianity. In most areas where Christianity made headway medical services served as leading solutions for securing the converts despite the pressures of the Native Authority and colonial government.35



31        Crampton, E.P.T., Christianity in Northern Nigeria, Zaria, Gaskiya corporation ltd, 1976.

32        O.U.Kalu, Church Unity and Religious Change in Africa, (eds), F.Edwards et, al, Christianity in Independent Africa, London,Rex Collings, 1978, p179.

33        A.D.Yahaya, Christianity among the Gawu Community of Gurara local Government Area Niger State 1937- 1999,M.A Dissertation Submitted to Postgraduate School, UDUS, History,p.p56-59.

34        Interview Malam Halilu Hassan Shinkafi, He is from Zamfara who came to Babbar Rugga for leprosy treatments IN 1943 , he is the father of current Secretary of Babbar rugga hospital former leprosy hospital.

35        Maman Illela,Garba Maradi from Niger Republic were among the early converts as a result of medical services.



The health care challenges of the 19th and 20th centuries serve as a major reasons for the colonial and Native Authorities to sign agreements with the missions to establish Dispensaries, Hospitals along with their stations, the agreements discourage the use of leper settlements as evangelic centers, but the mission responded by saying ―they cannot prohibit any person among the Muslims who wished to attend Church services either in their leper settlement or any other parts.36 The missionaries continued with their proselytization despite the agreement, because the aims of the missions of establishing the health centers is for religious teaching and influence to the lepers and people to Christianity, therefore the mission ignore the warning and continued with their proselytization in the areas37.

The mission‘s efforts to evangelize at health centers were successful like the case of Nigerian border areas of Babbar Rugga (Katsina), Sokoto, Amanawa and other areas among the leprosy and eye patients but were less productive among other patients. For instance at Galmi according to Newton Kapp in 1955, said there were several genuine conversion at Galmi Hospital after four years of operation and many conversion were not genuine, but from 1970-2020 many patients were treated on outpatients unlike previous years where the patients stayed in the caps for treatment and conversion take place. At Maradi good numbers of people were converted to Christianity as a result of the medical services of leprosy and eye treatments. ―Of all the means of conversion the easiest way is the provision of medical services rendered by the mission at pagan, and Muslim communities especially those that suffered isolation and stigmatization they interact with those people without hatred or stigma.

The mission transformed and empowered people who accepted the Christianity by giving special assistance in form of cash and kind.38 The youth involved in the process of proselytization obtained appointments in both states and federal government level. The evangelical missions like SIM , did not only give their converts a voice to preach, they also intentionally gave them a political voice as well. They created an identity for their converts.39 Except now a days Muslims were more educated, and their populations make them to emerge more powerful in getting access to employment and political positions. The Hausa Christians have tried to unite under the umbrella of Tarayyar Masihiyawan Nigeria (TASMANI) ,the Association of the Followers of the Messiah in Nigeria (comprising Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christian) but the associations did not progress much because Hausa Christian do not quite agreed and get along with Fulani Christian and Christian in Middle Belt do not trust the Hausa Fulani. It is for these reasons that the association of Masihiyawa movement and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) will not work together in Nigerian context. But in Nigeria all Christian were bound together under one umbrella, they work together toward achieving their goals despite their differences.

Public Preaching as a Method of Evangelization

The Christian missions were allowed from the initial stage to preach in public as a strategy. The Christian missions introduced new method for the spread of the gospel open air preaching, and teaching. Women missionaries were allowed in both Nigeria and Niger Republic into compounds to

36        E.W.Blyden, Islam, Christianity and Negro Races, IV., See also M.U.Bunza, Christian Missions Among Muslima:Sokoto Province, 1935-1990.. p48.

37        E.P.T.Crapton, Christianity in Northern Nigeria, ..p.139.

38        Interview, Mani Habu 72 years, Katsina Babbar Rugga.

39        M. H. Kukah, Religion,Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria, Ibadan, Spectrum Publishers, 1993.


preach to women in Purdah or Kulle. At the initial stage they started in an open market place for Hausa Muslim men, Women, and children attended the open air preaching, most probably due to the fascination of appearance of the white man who would have look different later inter-rural community by their appearance and by the preaching methods and their assistance to people in form of food and items.

The missionaries used to hold public preaching sessions among the Muslims, the SIM field Director, Mr. Playfair, launched a public preaching that was the first of its kind at Dundaye, in July 1940 in an open place with a public address system and distributed religious pamphlets. The reports discourage further public preaching in the area., the preaching were sometimes extended into markets and at night when people return back from work, along the borders town like Illela, Kamba, Kangiwa, Bachaka, Jibiya, Katsina 40etc. Today, public preaching was done in Churches, F.M.Radio, and states own Radio stations. The Woman fellowships (Zumuntar Mata), Christian Corpers Associations (NYSC) and youth organizations took the responsibilities of preaching tours into villages of the border like Unguwar Mato in Arewa local government, Kamba, Katsina Babbar Rugga, they distribute a lot of materials like cloth, food, free treatment, barbing and bathing of village children. In Niger Republic it‘s not allowed for the people to start preaching in public but rather preaching should be done in mosque and churches except in the town of the border mission still preach in public. Preaching and distribution of books, pamphlets which are produced in Hausa and Ajami form of writing Hausa become common in contemporary period for Christian evangelization, the missionaries distribute the materials on the streets, motor parks, markets, schools and hospitals in Nigeria but in Niger its banned, therefore the preaching is done only on pamphlets and in the churches. Examples of those writings were sometimes published in Hausa, French, English or Arabic.

In initial stage of the colonial conquest of Northern Nigeria, and establishment of Christian mission stations in the borderlands were not in supports by the Emirs, yet the missionaries act extensively towards spreading the gospel which is their main target. The emirs were so conservative. Towards 1903, when Sokoto caliphate were conquered some Emirs were happy to have missions in their domain, i.e the Emir of Katsina and Niger republic cooperated with the mission in the spread of gospel in their areas, they served as protectors of colonial interest. Like the case of Sarkin Katsina Muhammad Dikko and Sarkin Zaria.

One of the leading traditional rulers that contributed towards the establishment of mission in his area is Sarkin Katsina Muhammadu Dikko who ruled from 1907-1944, Northern Nigeria had witnessed significant changes especially in the areas of political administration as a result of the colonial domination. The Emirs served as British assistants because they served their interest and obey all their orders failure to comply would result to depose.41 The Hausaland did not witness the missionaries until 1930s In Zinder of Niger Republic the Emir fight seriously before finally he was overpowered and Church were established in Zinder which is still in existence.


40        M.U.Bunza, Op.cit

41        Tibenderana,PK.‖ The Emirs and the spread of Western Education in Northern Nigeria, 1910-1946, Journal of African History, Vol.24, 19983, pp517-534.

Christian missions adopted different methods of conversion of people to Christianity through the permission of the natives‘ administrators and Colonial officers, thus the mission entry into treatments of the lepers yield more result in conversion than educational and other humanitarian assistance. Despite the mission success the colonial government observed the danger of converting the Muslim north into Christianity they therefore input restrictions. Throughout the period of colonial government the mission were given opportunity to control health sector with Natives authority as major stakeholders. The differences of the mission method in Nigerian border and that of Nigeria is that in Nigeria missionaries have adopted preaching, teaching and medical services while in Niger the mission did not apply such method until recently they adopted the methods among the border communities. The mission adopted the use of Hausa language as a medium of communication by the missions towards making western education more attractive to Hausa speaking natives and it allowed the Hausa people to give the mission attention during preaching .In the later 19th century, Hausaland remained the principal area needed to evangelize by the Priests, and from 1867 -1892 Christian missions continued to plan to established Christian community out of the Hausa Muslim tribes, they only succeeded in border areas more than the interior of the Hausaland.

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