Catholic Association in Nigeria “alarmed” over Targeted Killings, Kidnappings

Members of the Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria. Credit: Sokoto Diocese

Members of the Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria have expressed concern over the increase in cases of killings and kidnappings that seem to target Christians in the West African nation. 

In a statement issued Monday, June 27, the Papal Knights in Nigeria have urged the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to take action to protect Christians.

Two Catholic Priests were killed in separate attacks in their respective Nigerian Dioceses, one in Kaduna Archdiocese on June 25, and the other in Auchi Diocese on June 26.

Fr. Vitus Borogo was killed on June 25 at Prison Farm in Kaduna when “terrorists” raided the farm. Meanwhile, 41-year-old Fr. Christopher Odia was killed after having been abducted June 26 morning as he left his Parish residence to go for Holy Mass.

In their June 27 statement, the Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria express sadness in the face of the “incessant” attacks on churches, Catholic members of the Clergy, and worshippers in Africa’s most populous nation.


“The Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria are alarmed over the incessant and increased abduction and killing of Catholic Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church, and the attack on Catholic Churches and innocent worshippers,” they say.

They add in reference to the Pentecost Sunday massacre in Ondo Diocese, “The Church is still trying to come to terms with the  attack on the Church at Owo and brutal killing of the worshippers and now the brutal killing of the young Priest and Mass Server from Ikabigbo in Edo State and the killing also of the Priest in Kaduna. Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, at Prison Farm, Kujama, along Kaduna-Kachia Road, after a raid on the farm by Terrorists.” 

“This is certainly alarming and frightening,” the members of the Catholic lay association say in their June 27 statement.

They go on to express their condolences with the victims and families, saying, “We condole with the families of all that have been so brutally murdered, the Catholic Church and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and in fact all Nigerians who care for human life.”

The Papal Knights in the West African nation call on the Federal government and the Nigerian Security Agencies and apparatus “to do their work of protecting the lives of citizens which is their avowed duty.”

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“We are particularly concerned with the seeming silence of the Government in the face of these bastardy attacks and killings of innocent citizens going about their duties,” they say.

The Papal Knights further call on the Government “to take the Security of the people as a priority and in particular work hard to protect the lives of all the citizenry.”

“We pray that God will come to our aid in this period of grief and adversity. May God rescue Nigeria from this situation and save our people in distress,” they implore in their June 27 statement.

The West African nation of Nigeria “is grappling with a wave of violence by armed gangs who frequently carry out killings and kidnappings for ransom – mostly in unprotected rural communities,” BBC News reported in April.

Since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency emerged with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state, Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity.


Boko Haram, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

The insecurity situation has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers.

The murder of Fr. Borogo and Fr. Odia on June 25 in separate incidences follows a series of other killings of members of the Clergy and Christian worshippers in Africa’s most populous nation.

On June 19, gunmen attacked worshippers at St. Moses Rubu church, one of the 17 outstations of St. Augustine’s Parish of Kaduna Archdiocese, Maranatha Baptist and Evangelical Church Winning All, all the churches in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State.

Earlier this year, in March, Fr. Joseph Akete Bako, another Priest serving in Kaduna Archdiocese, was kidnapped by gunmen at his residence and his security guard killed. The leadership of Catholic Archdiocese later announced that Fr. Bako had died.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.