Introduction / History The Cineni people live in northeastern Nigeria. Historically they are hill-dwellers, who resisted the Fulani Islamic holy wars. Today, some have become Muslim and wear traditional Islamic dress. However, the majority are split between traditional religious beliefs they have held for centuries and Christianity which has come through missionary efforts in the last 70 years.
Most of the Cineni are farmers who raise peanuts, maize, and millet on hillside terraces. A man's work includes farming, crafting leather, making baskets, spinning, weaving, and building. Women make clay objects, train the small children, prepare the meals, and do other household activities. Most Cineni believe in a single god who is the creator of all things and who keeps his creation in order. This god only intervenes with his creation when order has been disturbed. The Cineni do not pray to this god, but rather to their ancestors, who they believe will intercede on their behalf. The Cineni believe that the Earth is the "mother goddess" who has birthed all other supernatural beings, including thunder and lightning, black snakes, crocodiles, and certain inanimate objects.
Although the Cineni have shown some interest in Christian teachings, only a small percentage of them have accepted Jesus as their Savior. A few of the ethnic groups in the area are being targeted by missions agencies, others have no missionaries working among them. No portion of the Bible has been translated into their language. Currently, no Christian radio or television broadcasts are being aired in the Cineni language. Most of the Cineni have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel. Additional laborers and evangelistic materials are needed. The Cineni people must have the Word of God translated in their own language to know that the Creator is not an impersonal god, but rather a loving Savior who cares for them and wants their freedom from slavery to the spirits through fear.