Christianity in Nigeria

The majority of Nigeria’s approximately 70 million Christians are either Roman Catholic (at least 18.9 million) or Anglican (18 million), but a diverse group of Protestant churches also claim significant members, including Baptists (the Nigerian Baptist Convention claims 6 million worshipping members), Presbyterians, Assemblies of God, Methodists, the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ, and what are known as the Aladura churches (Pentecostal and Spiritualist independent churches which emerged out of the Anglican Church during colonialism).

Roman Catholics and Methodists are predominant in southeasterly Igboland, while Anglicans and other Protestants (including Aladura Christians) have maintained a strong influence over Yorubaland in the southwest. The most dramatic growth within Nigerian Christianity in recent decades has been among those who identify as Evangelical or Pentecostal (either as members of newer movements or denominations, or charismatic versions of Roman Catholicism or Protestantism).

A Pew Forum survey in 2006 showed that roughly six in ten Protestants in Nigeria and three in ten Catholics were charismatic or Pentecostal. Though numbers are hard to estimate in these largely decentralized movements, the Evangelical Church Winning All claims 5 million members (mostly in the central region, but also in the north), and several large megachurches dot Nigeria’s landscape (perhaps the best known is Winners’ Chapel in greater Lagos, whose Faith Tabernacle seats more than 50,000 people). There has also been a steady population of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a small but growing population identified with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).


"Overview: Pentecostalism in Africa," Pew Research Center, October 5, 2006, accessed March 12, 2014.