Nigerian Pastor and his Pregnant Wife Shot to Death While Working on Family Farm Just Days After Sending their 8 Children to a Safe Haven

Image depicts Emmanuel Saba Bileya and his wife, Juliana. Photo courtesy of IWS.

A Nigerian pastor and his pregnant wife were laid to rest on Friday, leaving behind eight children between the ages of one and 19 years old. It’s the latest in a barrage of ethnic and religious violence overwhelming Nigeria. More Nigeria headlines here.

“It’s frustrating,” Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA says.

“The government of Nigeria seems to lack either the will or the ability to get control of these kinds of attacks and put a stop to them.”

Bloodshed is increasingly common these days in Nigeria. Hostility between the country’s Christian and Muslim populations has effectively split the country in two. Earlier this year, the number of internally displaced people in Nigeria surpassed two million.

“Yet again, we see Christians being targeted,” Nettleton says. “Nigeria has been on a sort of nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus, but it has not slowed the wave of attacks.”

Nigerian Christians killed while farming

As described here on Pastor Emmanuel Saba Bileya’s LinkedIn profile, the Nigerian church leader furthered his theological education at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It gave me an environment that was peaceful and with good resources so I could concentrate on my studies,” Pastor Bileya commented in this 2015 article.

In a recent letter to his Nigerian cohorts,  Calvin Theological Seminary President Jul Medenblik wrote of his interactions with Bileya:

I remember our interactions as ones that always exuded his appreciation, joy and faithfulness. As you may know from a Banner (church magazine of the CRCNA) article, he was so appreciative of his time at Calvin Seminary that he took upon himself the task of cleaning windows as a tangible expression of his appreciation. As a result, I will never walk by any of these windows again without remembering Pastor Emmanuel and Juliana and their children.

Windows help us see and provide a way for sight and vision beyond the walls of a building. Pastor Emmanuel helped us see beyond the walls of Calvin Seminary to see and hear of his ministry in Nigeria. Even as he and his church and family faced significant challenges, he always expressed deep confidence in being called by God to live fully before His face and be an instrument of reconciliation.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, 


  • Pray for comfort and provision for the orphaned Bileya children.
  • Ask the Lord to give Nigerian Gospel workers strength and courage.