The bomb detonated as worshippers attended the final Mass of the day at St Finbar’s Catholic Church in Jos, a city where thousands have died in the last decade in religious and ethnic violence.
Security guards at the gate of the church’s compound stopped the suspicious car and the bomber detonated his explosives during an altercation that followed, city officials said.
The blast damaged the church’s roof, blew out its windows and destroyed a portion of the fence surrounding the church’s compound.
No group immediately claimed responsibility though the city has been targeted in the past by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. The sect claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in Jos on Christmas Eve 2010 that killed as many as 80 people. The sect was also behind a similar church bombing in February on the main headquarters of the Church of Christ that killed three people and wounded 38 others.
Jos and surrounding Plateau state have been torn apart in recent years by violence pitting its different ethnic groups and major religions – Christianity and Islam – against each other.