Discuss this article or ask questions at the LDS.net Forums.
Aba Nigeria Temple
The Aba Nigeria Temple is the 121st operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An announcement was made on April 2, 2000, that a Mormon temple would be built in Aba, Nigeria. This temple was the third temple to be built in Africa. The highly visible temple site consists of 6.3 acres on the outskirts of the Ogbor River. A bridge had to be built over the river so that people could get to the temple.
The people of Nigeria received the announcement of the future temple in their country with great joy. The local members are strong and active in the Mormon Church. Many people began joining together to worship as Mormons even before Mormon missionaries were able to enter the country. These righteous people sought out any information they could find about the Church from pamphlets that somehow came into the country and from friends who were living in the United States or other places where the Church was accessible. When missionaries were able to come into Nigeria, they found a people yearning to learn more about the Church, be baptized, and receive the priesthood.
In the 1960's the Mormon Church headquarters received more letters from Nigeria and Ghana than all other countries combined. In all the letters the people were asking for more information and asking for missionaries to be sent. Representatives were sent from the Church to see what could be done in Nigeria, and there they found thousands who had joined together to form churches patterned after the Mormon Church. All were waiting until the time when they could be baptized into the Church. The first missionaries were able to enter Nigeria in 1978. People lined up to be baptized, and in just a few short weeks, the first branch was organized in Nigeria. Now there are more than 68,000 members in Nigeria alone.
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication was held on February 23, 2002. More than 2,000 people were present at the ceremony, including Mormon members, Church leaders, tribal chiefs from the area, and government leaders. Construction began soon after the site dedication. An open house was held June 18-July 2, 2005, to allow people to tour the inside of the temple and learn a little more about the ceremonies performed inside Mormon temples.
On Saturday August 6, 2005, the day before the temple was dedicated, a celebration was held. It told the story of the area through song and dance. President of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, dedicated the Aba Nigeria Temple on August 7, 2005. More than 7,000 people were present for the dedication. During the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley prayed for the welfare of Nigeria: "Bless this nation that it may rise in strength and freedom from among the nations of Africa. Bless its leaders that they may look with favor upon Thy Saints and safeguard their rights, property and privileges."  The Aba Nigeria Temple has a total floor area of 11,500 square feet, two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms. The outer walls are made of Namibian pearl granite.
- "Rise in strength…among the nations of Africa," Church News, 13 Aug. 2005: 4.