Abduction, Killing of Priests in Nigeria "loud sign" of Government Failure: Advocacy Group

Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

The leadership of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decried the "recurring killing and kidnapping of Catholic Priests" in the West African country, terming it a sign of failure on the part of Nigeria’s Federal government.

In a Monday, August 15 report, HURIWA’s National Coordinator makes reference to the reported kidnapping and release of a Spiritan Priest and Seminarian saying the August 12 abduction  happened at a soldiers' checkpoint.

“The recurring killings and kidnappings of Catholic Priests all over the country is another loud sign of the failure of the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari," Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko is quoted as saying.

Mr. Onwubiko adds, “It is worrisome that despite the killing of over 12 Catholic Priests in 2022 and the abduction of scores of Catholic Priests all over the country, the present regime and security agencies have left the ugly trend to continue."

"This latest kidnap-for-ransom happened at the checkpoint of soldiers and is exactly this same nexus between these kidnappers and soldiers that emerged from the disclosure of the prelate of the Methodist church who was recently kidnapped and freed upon payment of ransom," the official of HURIWA is quoted as saying in the August 15 report.


"The President did nothing to arrest the soldiers involved in these daredevil crimes of kidnap-for-ransom," he further says, adding that it is such inability to arrest kidnappers that compelled Igbo youths to form Eastern Security Network to protect themselves.

In the August 15 report, the leadership of the civil rights advocacy group highlights the Pentecost Sunday massacre as another example of kidnappings and killings that target Catholics and underlines the need for the Muslim-led security agencies in Africa’s most populous nation to be "guided by conscience".

“HURIWA calls on security agencies in the internal security institutions all headed by Muslims to be guided by conscience and put an end to the targeted persecution of Catholics in the country," the National Coordinator of the Nigerian human rights entity says.

HURIWA leadership also calls upon the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council to rise to the occasion and collectively condemn the heinous action.

"Muslim clerics must not keep quiet but must speak out and condemn the massacre of Catholics by Fulani bandits," Mr. Onwubiko says, and adds, "Conscience and love for humanity should be above religious sentiments."

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BBC news reported in April that 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.”

Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan announced the “gruesome murder” of Fr. John Mark Cheitnum who had been kidnapped on July 15 alongside Fr. Denatus Cleopas, the latter having safely escaped from his captors.

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

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 the LGA of Kajuru, Kaduna State.

In the August 15 report, the leadership of HURIWA says in reference to the killings and kidnappings, “Crime is crime and should not be deodorized.”


The National Coordinator of the Nigerian human rights adds, “HURIWA will today send out a petition to the Roman Catholic Pontiff Pope Francis and World leaders for the umpteenth time to intervene to stop the persecution of Christians in Nigeria by armed Jihadists kidnappers”.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.