Nigerian pastor Moses Oyeleke has been released after spending months in the clutches of the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram.
Oyeleke was kidnapped back in April as he traveled along a road in Borno State. He was eventually freed alongside a young girl, Ndagilaya Ibrahim Umar, who attended the local Government Science Secondary School.
According to International Christian Concern, the minister was taken to Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram stronghold, following his capture. There, he faced daily pressure to convert to Islam. Despite the group’s repeated intimidation, Oyeleke refused to renounce his faith in Christ. Instead, he responded to his adversaries with unrelenting kindness.
“I stayed peacefully with them for up to seven months. Many times they have requested me to convert to Islam, their preachers had preached to me a lot of times but you know when you have wisdom, you relate with people in a way that would not lead to a quarrel,” he explained, according to a report by ICC.
“When they came to preach, I paid attention to everything they said and when they asked me questions about things that I knew would cause problems if I had responded, I always told them I didn’t know so that I wouldn’t say things that would offend them.”
Amazingly, Boko Haram appeared to honor his good behavior and released Oyeleke unharmed.
“I am very happy today that we have been rescued because where we are coming from, we have come from a place of darkness to light,” Pastor Moses declared. “That is why my heart is filled with joy because I have seen my family, friends, and associates.”
Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors USA lists Nigeria as the 12th most oppressive place in which to live as a Christian, largely due to the threat posed by Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen.
“Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen,” reads the country’s factsheet. “These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and scores of villages and churches were burned to the ground.”
There are around 91 million Christians currently living in Nigeria, among a total population of roughly 195 million.