Nigerian Diocese Concerned about Whereabouts of Priest who Disappeared “without any trace”

Fr. Samson Emokhidi. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja in Nigeria has expressed concern about the whereabouts of a Priest in the Nigerian Metropolitan See who has been missing for a month.

Fr. Samson Emokhidi disappeared “without any trace” on October 1, the Archdiocese announced in a statement that was shared with ACI Africa on Wednesday, November 1, adding that nothing had been heard from the Catholic Priest.

“This is to inform the entire Archdiocesan family about our brother and Priest Rev. Fr. Samson Emokhidi, who left the house on Sunday 1 October 2023 at about 20:45 pm. He left without any trace and has not been seen or heard from since then,” the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Fr. Sam Tumba, says in the statement.

Fr. Tumba adds, “The matter has been reported to the civil authorities who have since commenced investigations.”

“The Archbishop and the Auxiliary Bishop request that we remember him in our prayers and if anyone has useful information regarding his whereabouts to kindly contact the Chancery,” the Chancellor says in reference to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama and Bishop Anselm Umoren respectively.


Fr. Samson is said to have gone missing on the same day he was posted to Holy Ghost Saburi Parish of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.

Nigeria has been described as a dangerous place for Catholic Priests who serve at the risk of being kidnapped. A Priest in the West African country shared his experience with Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), saying, “Being a priest in Nigeria includes the danger of being kidnapped.”

According to ACN, Nigeria has, in recent years, become “a dangerous country”. 

“Kidnapping industry has sprung up in many regions,” ACN said in a report in April, and added, “To the criminals, the Catholic Church is associated with wealth, and they particularly target clergy, believing this will yield them money, even though the bishops have a strict policy not to pay ransoms.”

Nigeria’s Federal territory, Abuja, has been relatively safe compared to other regions of the West African country and Africa’s most populous nation where jihadists and other armed groups continue to wreak havoc against innocent civilians, most of them Christians.

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In May this year, 15 people including a government official were reportedly abducted in the Kuje Area Council of Abuja on Sunday.

The kidnapping in May happened less than a month after 29 people were kidnapped from the Federal territory of Nigeria.

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.