Church in Nigeria Opens Door for Testimonies to Start Canonization Cause of Murdered Teen

Vivian Ogu. Credit: Vivian Ogu Movement (VOM)

A movement seeking to promote the awareness of the life of Vivian Ogu, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl who opted to be killed rather than be sexually defiled is calling for testimonies to start the cause for her canonization. 

Vivian was murdered on 15 November 2009 by armed robbers who attacked her home. The armed men took Vivian out of the house and attempted to rape her. She refused and opted to be killed instead.

The Vivian Ogu Movement (VOM), started by Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze of Benin City Archdiocese announced in a Thursday, October 5 statement that “an edict would be issued” calling on members of the public to come forward with testimonies “whether positive or negative” on the life of the Nigerian teen that “could be of good value either for or against the cause.”

They said, “It is important to note that the Archdiocese is pursuing the cause for the beatification and canonization of Vivian Ogu not just because she was killed for refusing to be raped but because of the great impact she made in the lives of so many youths as well as her zeal for the Lord before her death.”

They noted that beatification and canonization of Vivian Ogu would be “of great pastoral benefit to the church in Nigeria.”


Born in April 1995, Vivian received her First Holy Communion at St. Paul Parish of Benin City Archdiocese in March 2005. At the time of her death, she was in the preparatory class for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which was scheduled for 2010.

Vivian was the first President of the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) which was inaugurated at St. Paul Parish in 2006.

According to VOM officials, Vivian learned about St. Mary Goretti at the HCA.

“She would continually retell the story of her favorite saint when she invited his companions to a life of faith and friendship with Jesus and instructed them on the value of virginity. With her heroic death, Vivian offered a concrete example of this teaching,” they say. 

They add that Vivian loved reading the Bible and asking for explanations from her Priests and teachers concerning the Social Teachings of the Church. 

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Her love for the Scriptures moved her to write her understanding of the Gospels, VOM officials say, adding that she was at chapter sixteen of the Gospel of St. Matthew by the time she was killed. 

In September 2019, the Edo State Government launched the Vivian Ogu Sexual Assault Referral Centre to provide services for and support to survivors of sexual assault in Edo State, in honor of Vivian.

The Archdiocese of Benin City celebrates Memorial Day for Vivian Ogu on November 15 each year.

Every third Saturday of each month, children and teenagers from the Archdiocese of Benin City visit the Vivian Ogu Missionary Animation Centre to be animated to follow the footsteps of Vivian Ogu.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.