Plans Underway for Funeral of Murdered Nigerian Monk as Search for Body Hits a Snag

Late Br. Godwin Eze. Credit: Benedictine Monastery, Eruku

Monks at the Benedictine Monastery, Eruku in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Ilorin are planning for the funeral ceremony of their confrere, Br. Godwin Eze, after those who set out to search for the murdered monk’s body encountered obstacles.

Fr. Joseph Ekesiobi, a former Novice Director at the Nigerian Benedictine monastery, told ACI Africa that the team that ventured into the forest where Br. Godwin was held captive before he was brutally shot and his body thrown in a river decided to retreat fearing for their lives.

The search team was composed of a vigilante group, some members of the Monastery, and the Nigerian police. Also joining the search crew was a group of hunters who were brought on board for their familiarity with the forest. 

Br. Godwin’s father who also joined the search advised the team to retreat when they found themselves deep inside the Fulani territory, Fr. Ekesiobi told ACI Africa on Sunday, October 29.

“Our community met with the police on Wednesday (October 25) last week to organize the search for Godwin’s body. All arrangements were made and on Thursday (October 26), they embarked on the search,” Fr. Ekesiobi, the monastery’s spokesperson said.


He added, “The joint task-force went deep into the forest following the river where the body of Godwin had been thrown. They got to a point where they were very exhausted. They also started seeing some of the Fulani herdsmen who are notorious for attacking people. Godwin’s father told them to retreat.”

Meanwhile, Br. Godwin’s father has asked that the funeral of his deceased son be arranged as soon as possible. 

“He wouldn’t want the torture to be prolonged,” Fr. Ekesiobi says, adding that a funeral committee at the Monastery has been constituted and is meeting to reach a decision, which will be communicated to the Diocesan Administrator to set a date for Br. Godwin’s funeral service.

Noting that the Monastery has not lost hope of recovering Br. Godwin’s body, the Priest says, “Hunters on the search party agreed to continue with the search and to inform our community of any developments. We are hoping and praying that the body will be found.”

Br. Godwin was kidnapped at around 1 a.m. on October 17 alongside Br. Anthony Eze and Br. Peter Olarewaju as they slept in the Novitiate block of their community.

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While Br. Anthony and Br. Peter were set free on October 21, Br. Godwin, aged only 31, was shot and his body thrown into a river on October 18, a day after his kidnapping.

Eulogizing the murdered monk, Fr. Ekesiobi said, “Br. Godwin lived a contemplative life. I remember him as a very easygoing young man. He was very jovial and very prayerful.”

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.