He explains, “When Bandits or kidnappers realise that their victims are Priests or Pastors, it seems a violent spirit does take over their heart to demand more ransom and in some cases go to the extent of killing the victim.”
On January 10, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja who described the acts of kidnapping as criminal, sinful and degrading to humanity said the continued abductions will give the country “a bad name” internationally.
“Left unchecked by the Nigerian authorities, this shameful and disgusting act will continue to give Nigeria a bad name and scare away visitors and investors to the country,” said Archbishop Kaigama.
In December, the U.S. State Department listed Nigeria among the worst countries for religious freedom, describing the West African nation as a “country of particular concern (CPC)”. This is a formal designation reserved for nations where the worst violations of religious freedom are taking place, the other countries being China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
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The action by the U.S. State Department was lauded by the leadership of Knights of Columbus, with the Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson saying December 16, “Nigeria's Christians have suffered grievously at the hands of Boko Haram and other groups.”
The murders and kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria now “verge on genocide,” Anderson added.
“The Christians of Nigeria, both Catholic and Protestant, deserve attention, recognition and relief now,” Anderson further said, adding, “Nigeria's Christians should be able to live in peace and practice their faith without fear.”
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.