Major Seminary in Nigeria Fostering Interreligious Dialogue amid “security concerns”

Entrance to the St. Augustine's Major Seminary in Nigeria's Jos Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

St. Augustine's Major Seminary is fostering Interreligious Dialogue amid “security concerns”, the Rector of the Catholic institution that is located at Laranto in Jos North Local Government Area of Jos, Plateau State, a violence-prone region in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, has said.

In a Wednesday, March 8 webinar meeting, Mons. Mark Maigida Nzukwein who is the Bishop-elect of the newly created Wukari Diocese said that the Major Seminary is located in a predominantly Muslim area with “a history of violence for the past two decades and still raises security concerns regarding the safety of formators, the staff, and also the students at the seminary.”

Mons. Maigida also said that the Seminary’s sports ground and water are used by the public, a reality that makes it vulnerable as “strangers could easily disguise taking advantage of these facilities to constitute a threat to the safety of the seminary compound.”

“The Seminary community promotes interreligious dialogue with our immediate Muslim community through constant interfaith discussions with various religious leaders, women, and youth groups,” the Bishop-elect said in the virtual event that the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, organized under the theme, “Nigeria at the crossroads”.

The member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese whose Episcopal Consecration has been scheduled to take place on April 13 said that the Major Seminary has “been able to achieve mutual understanding”.


“We have been able to reduce tension, and build trust among ourselves” through the dialogues, the Bishop-elect further said, adding that members of the local community have, on many occasions, invited “seminary formators to participate in some of the peace initiatives that involve enlightening the youth.”

The Nigerian Major Seminary has also employed charity activities and peace campaigns, Mons. Maigida said, and explained, “We do reach out especially to the Muslim community through charity so as to show them the face of Christianity which is love and compassion.”

The Bishop-elect said that a lot of education is offered to the youth outside the Major Seminary to shield them from manipulation by politicians to cause violence.

“We have often told them that the alternative to violence is education, enlightenment,” Mons. Maigida said in reference to the youth around the St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, adding that members of the local community “have always appreciated our efforts in this regard.”

He further noted most of the people neighboring the Major Seminary, which accommodated three victims of the January 2020 Good Shepherd Major Seminary attack are “uneducated, illiterate and so they can easily be brainwashed or indoctrinated in a very negative sense and recruited for violent purposes.” 

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The Bishop-elect added that “the high rate of poverty and unemployment ratio among the youth, particularly the Muslim population of this area over the years, has made it (the Seminary) more susceptible to the whims of the politicians who exploit their vulnerability in order to promote their selfish political interests.”

Four seminarians from Kaduna-based Good Shepherd Major Seminary were abducted by bandits who reportedly were wearing military uniforms. While three of the seminarians were set free, one of them, Michael Nnadi was murdered by the bandits for preaching Christ’s Gospel

In the virtual event that had about 50 participants including the ACN International Director of Projects, Regina Lynch, and Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso of Kaduna Archdiocese, Mons. Maigida said prayer and hope in God’s protection have remained the best weapon amid security concerns at the Major Seminary. 

“We have heard rumors many times about attacks on our Seminary but we have never lost hope. Our faith has been kept alive because of the hope we have in Christ and the hope we have in prayer to sustain the formation we give to our Seminarians here,” the Nigerian Bishop-elect said.

He added, “We are very confident that with God on our side, and with faith in Him, the future will certainly be brighter for us.”


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.