Gathering up the Fragments after Boko Haram Helping Baptist Churches in Northeastern Nigeria Recover, Conserve, and Digitize their History

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Anthonia O. Ahimah
D'Anna K. Shotts


Almost everyone has heard of the deadly terror group Boko Haram, which began to gain world attention in 2009. Their impact on northeastern Nigeria has been devastating: lives lost and disrupted, properties destroyed, culture and history eradicated by violence. Though they no longer hold territory, in 2014-15 Boko Haram controlled an area the size of Belgium, and also carried out multiple violent attacks in surrounding areas. The Northeastern Nigeria Baptist Digital History Project was begun to help affected Baptist churches in three northeastern states which suffered invasion, many of them with devastated and scattered congregations and damaged or destroyed buildings, recover the dignity of their history through researching, locating, digitizing, and indexing historical documents related to their founding and growth. 

Original impetus for the project, headquartered in the Ibrahim Danin Library of Baptist Theological Seminary, Kaduna (located outside the Boko Haram sphere of influence) was the discovery of a trove of forty-year-old, handwritten working files created by missionaries present at the founding of many of the earliest Baptist churches in the area. Other primary materials already held by the Library contain clues to interpreting these records, and are also being digitized for access by scholars and researchers.   

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