Nigerian Catholic Bishop Backs Petition Demanding Justice for Persecuted Christians

Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade of Nigeria’s Ondo Diocese. Credit: ACN

A Nigerian Catholic Bishop has, in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, expressed his backing for a petition requesting that the United Kingdom (UK) government "call on their Nigerian counterparts to bring to justice those responsible for genocidal attacks” in the West African nation.

In the initiative dubbed “#RedWednesday Petition” ahead of ACN’s ‘Persecuted & Forgotten?’ report to be released on November 16, the Catholic charity highlights the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Nigeria’s Ondo Diocese that left 39 worshippers killed and more than 80 injured “and countless other killings, abductions and other atrocities” as some of the “genocidal attacks” in Africa’s most populous nation.

In the petition, ACN wants the UK government to “demand the arrest and imprisonment of terrorists, the return of lands and villages, as well as compensation for the destruction of properties and livelihoods.”

In a report ACN published October 28, the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Ondo Diocese, Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, expresses support for the petition, and says that “a genocide is now taking place” in Nigeria.

“The petition that ACN (UK) is doing is very helpful,” Bishop Arogundade told the Catholic charity in the interview conducted on October 27, adding that thanks to the petition, “the world will become more aware of what is going on in Nigeria. The increased awareness will put the Nigerian authorities on their toes.”


The Nigerian Catholic Bishop that is at the helm of the Diocese that experienced the June 5 Pentecost Sunday attack told ACN that the #RedWednesday Petition “will also send a clear signal to those planning more attacks that the world is now watching and those responsible cannot get away with it in the future.” 

“Nearly five months on from the atrocity nobody had been charged,” Bishop Arogundade said in reference to the June 5 attack on the Parish in his Episcopal See, adding that although “seven people had been arrested”, several weeks on, they “were still being detained.”

“We do not know what the authorities are doing with them,” the Catholic Bishop said in reference to alleged perpetrators of the Pentecost Sunday attack, and added, “Those who attack Christian churches and kill people must be brought to justice.”

In the October 27 interview with ACN, the 61-year-old Church Catholic leader said, “There is a concerted effort to drive Christians out of their lands by various means, including kidnapping and killing of lay people and priests, stealing land belonging to Christians and attacking churches during services.”

Bishop Arogundade spoke of a “climate of hostility against Christianity especially in the north.” 

More in Africa

In Northern Nigeria, the Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in May 2010 as Coadjutor Bishop told ACN, “The authorities minimize and restrict the activities of Christians such as making it difficult to erect chapels in university campuses where there are many mosques.”

“The Christians are pushing back. We need to stand up for what we believe,” Bishop Arogundade, who has been at the helm of Ondo Diocese since November 2010 told ACN during the October 27 interview.

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.