“Be our voice”, Bishop in Nigeria to Catholic Entities, Says Terrorists are Well Connected

Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria. Credit: ACN

Those behind the ongoing killings, kidnappings and displacements targeting Christians in Nigeria are well connected individuals internationally and are misrepresenting the extent of the persecution in the West African nation, the Catholic Bishop of the country’s Makurdi Diocese has said.

In the latest update of the security situation in Nigeria’s Benue State, which is served by the Diocese of Makurdi, Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe appeals to Catholic entities, including the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, and Denis Hurley Peace Initiate (DHPI), to help in amplifying the voice of the Diocese that is at the heart of the ongoing persecution in Africa’s most populous country.

“In Nigeria, the perpetrators of the genocidal attacks on innocent Christians are connected internationally and sometimes attempts are made to change the narrative. This is why we need you to be our voices and help get our stories out,” Bishop Anagbe is quoted as saying in the Thursday, August 25 report.

In the report that the Diocese also shared with ACI Africa, the Catholic Bishop adds, “It is my hope that you will continue to advocate and lobby the international community and other prominent agencies to speak out about this issue before it is too late.”

The update that covered the month of July and part of August indicates a sharp increase in the attacks in various parts of Benue State, with August registering most attacks. The Diocese documented a total of 14 separate attacks of varying magnitude across the Nigerian State between July 1 and August 25.


In the month of July, five separate attacks were registered, including the July 1 attack on Kyoayaba community in West LGA that left seven people dead and the July 12 attack on Anter community in Makurdi LGA in which five people were killed.

In the month of August, which is not ended yet, nine attacks have been reported across the State, including the August 10 attack on Tse Ngojov and Tse Valem Yaweh in Mbagum community Logo LGA that left six people dead and scores injured, as well as the August 23 attack on Udayagba on Makurdi - Abuja road in which three people were killed.

Expressing the ill intentions of Islamist Fulanis in the West African nation, Bishop Anagbe says, “As it has become customary, I take this moment to once again share with you the situation of continued killings and displacement of our people by Islamic militant groups on a jihad to Islamize Nigeria through brutal killings and displacement of innocent and defenseless populations in our country.”

He adds, “Jihadists often camouflage as ‘herdsmen’ but the government in power for reasons best known to it, prefers that they be called, ‘unknown gun men’. But regardless of whatever nomenclature employed to shield these fundamentalists, many Nigerians now know that these are Fulani terrorist groups operating under the different names: Boko Haram, Fulani terrorists, Bandits etc., with the main intent to Islamize the country through violence.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop says that having to live with the realization that Islamists want to wipe out Christianity in Nigeria is a terrible situation, and adds, “but we continue to soldier on with Christian hope and resolve.”

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He expresses gratitude to ACN, DHPI and other entities concerned with the reality of suffering in Nigeria, saying, “These and some others have continued to amplify our cries to the world community in the hope that the situation will change soon.”

“May I on behalf of the Diocese of Makurdi and all our suffering brothers and sisters in this part of the world say our gratitude to all who have been helping out,” he says in the report.

The Local Ordinary of Makurdi decries the laxity of authorities in Nigeria to act to stop the ongoing persecution against Christians, and expresses fears that the authorities may be working with the perpetrators of the violence.

Bishop Anagbe expresses bafflement that despite the clearly documented attacks in the country, the government rarely makes a move to make arrests.

Highlighting what he described as “the ever-worsening situation of general insecurity in Nigeria”, Bishop Anagbe says, “That the government in power in Nigeria is in cahoots with those perpetrating these heinous crimes seems easy to see, because it is worrying and almost unbelievable that in spite of all these well documented incidents, perpetrators are never arrested.”


“As you read this, the killers of Fr. Vitus Borogo of Kaduna diocese (killed on June 25) or Fr. Christopher Odia of Auchi diocese (killed on June 26) or indeed those who brutally kidnapped and murdered Fr John Mark Cheitnum of Kafachan Diocese on July 15th are yet to be arrested. Many Nigerians doubt the so-called arrest of the orchestrators of the massacre in Owo, Ondo State on Pentecost Sunday 2022,” he laments.

The Bishop expresses concern that the local populations displaced from their homes by killer herdsmen are mainly subsistence farmers whose farm work usually would suffice for feeding and taking care of personal needs.

He says that due to the persistent attacks and displacements of the communities that started to peak in 2014, however, thousands have been unable to cultivate their farms or engage in any meaningful economic activity.

Consequently, he says, the people are suffering from unbearable severe food shortages and inability to pay for basic needs of life and to pay for medical or health care needs.

Additionally, he notes, the education needs of affected populations has become severe.

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“There is the complete loss of human dignity and the prevalence of harmful practices as the thousands who are displaced and taking refuge in makeshift shelters have to rely on unsafe coping strategies to survive,” Bishop Anagbe says.

He adds, “The situation of want has reduced many to a condition unworthy of human dignity, often relying on food rations contributed by others whose economic conditions are not better off in any way.”

The Nigerian Bishop says that the ongoing crisis has created needs both immediate, mid-term and long term, adding, “Presently the help sought would center mainly on the immediate and mid-term help that we could access for the IDPs who are in dire need to meet basic necessities of life.”

In the August 25 report shared with ACI Africa, Bishop Anagbe appeals for help from the international community, saying, “While the diocese continues to reach out to help, it is our prayers and hope that we are not abandoned in this struggle.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.