According to officials, about 10 people have been killed while many more have been injured in a bomb blast at a Catholic church near the Nigerian capital Abuja.
The explosion ripped through St Theresa’s Church in Madalla as worshippers gathered for Christmas services.
An emergency official told reporters that the authorities were busy trying to cope with the casualties.
Security has been high after violence between Islamist gunmen and soldiers in northern Nigeria.
However, according to the BBC’s Fidelis Mbah in Lagos, no trouble had been expected in the capital.
National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) spokesman Yushau Shuaibu told the BBC that the explosion had happened in the street outside the church.
Nevertheless he said the church had been severely ruined by the explosion, and the number of dead was likely to rise above the present figure.
Earlier he told Reuters news agency: “We are presently evacuating the dead and the injured, but unfortunately we don’t have enough ambulances.
“Most of our ambulances have gone to operate on the major highways of the country.”
According to witnesses, windows of nearby houses had been crushed by the blast.
Officials at the local hospital said the situation of many of the wounded was severe, and they were looking for help from bigger medical facilities.
At the moment, no group has accepted responsibility for carrying out this attack. On the other hand, today’s explosion comes in the midst of a wave of attacks in Nigeria by a radical Muslim group identified as Boko Haram. According to an Associated Press calculation, the group has been responsible for at least 465 killings this year alone.
UPDATE: As at the time of this update, about 25 people were counted dead.