, 25 April, 2020 / 7:00 AM
Those who allegedly abducted and eventually killed the 18-year-old Nigerian Seminarian, Michael Nnadi are in the hands of police officers in Nigeria, a Church official has confirmed.
The Director of Social Communication in Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese, the diocese where the late Seminarian was born and bred, confirmed the arrest in a Facebook post on the Catholic Broadcast Commission, Nigeria Friday, April 24.
“This is to inform us that the kidnappers & killers of our seminarian Michael Nnadi have been apprehended by the Nigerian Police Force,” Fr. Chris Omotosho announced through a Facebook post.
He added, “The seminary authority confirmed that the police came in with one of the criminals today, for identification of their entry and exit route to & fro the seminary premises.”
Multiple sources in Nigeria told ACI Africa that the news about the arrest of the alleged kidnappers and killers of the late seminarian was authentic. Details about the identity of those arrested are yet to be divulged, sources in Nigeria said.
Michael Nnadi was murdered late January 2020, after being kidnapped on the night of January 8 alongside three other Seminarians from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary located in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria by gunmen camouflaged in military uniform.
All the four were first year philosophy students. The other three, who were subsequently released, were Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; and Stephen Amos, 23.
The Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah announced the murder of Michael Nnadi. In his February 1 message, the Bishop stated, “With a very heavy heart, I wish to inform you that our dear son, Michael was murdered by the bandits on a date we cannot confirm.”
Nnadi was an orphan and had been brought up by his grandmother, together with his twin brother.
The 67-year-old Nigerian Prelate had revealed the difficulties of breaking the news of Nnadi’s death to the family saying, “I had to delay this announcement until Mama got back from the market. We have broken the news to her and I will be with her.”
The Facebook post announcing the apprehension of the abductors and killers of Michael Nnadi has generated a variety of comments.
“There is no crime that cannot be investigated in Nigeria as long as phone conversation is involved in the crime. What the govt. needs to do is to create more enabling environment, funds for them to work and not limit the know how to only Abba kyari and his team alone,” Isreal Isreal Oyeniyi has remarked.
Kelvin Odum expressed his skepticism about the arrest. Referencing Nigeria’s primary law enforcement agency, the Nigeria Police Force, Kelvin Odum posted, “But we know the system in Nigeria; the NPF will definitely release them instead of allowing justice to prevail, what a country.”
“Let God enter into people that will handle this case and do his will; no sin should go unpunished; this is my prayer (through) Christ our Lord, Amen,” Gift Ifeanyi Gift commented.
Henry Ike wants the motivation for the murder of Michael Nnadi announced at the end of the probe. “To God be the glory,” Henry posted and added in reference to those arrested, “May they face judgements. May their reasons for taking the life of this harmless lad be also made known to the public.”
In a post aimed at the suspected killer referenced in Fr. Chris Omotosho’s Facebook post, Felix Olaniyi Olaoye reacted, “He should be thoroughly and properly investigated. He should tell us who are their sponsors, what he knows about the killing and kidnapping of priests. Their sponsors are enemies of Catholic Church. They know if they’re are able to silence the Catholic, they’ll be able to destabilize Christianity in Nigeria. But they have failed even before they thought of that.”
Michael Nnadi was one of the victims of increased kidnappings targeting Christians in the West African country, a situation that prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.
During the burial of Michael Nnadi, Bishop Kukah decried insecurity under the watch of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari and expressed the hope that Michael’s death would become a turning point for Christian persecution in Africa’s most populous nation.
“No one could have imagined that in winning the Presidency, General Buhari would bring nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary Security Agencies, that his government would be marked by supremacist and divisive policies that would push our country to the brink,” Bishop Kukah bemoaned in his homily Tuesday, February 11 during Michael’s burial at Kaduna-based Good Shepherd Major Seminary.
He described the killing of the seminarian as a “moment of decision” and explained, “This is the moment that separates darkness from light, good from evil. Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids. Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is on the crossroads and its future hangs precariously in a balance. This is a wakeup call for us.”
Calming the anger of outraged Christians following the abrupt end of a young and promising seminarian, Bishop Kukah had said during the burial, “Christianity parts ways with other Religions when it comes to what to do with the enemy. Here, we must admit, Christianity stands alone. This is the challenge for us as Christians. Others believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or that one can take either blood money or make some form of reparation one way or the other.”
The Nigerian Prelate added, “However, for us Christians, Jesus stands right in the middle with a message that is the opposite of all that is sensible to us as human beings. Put back your sword (Mt. 26: 52). Turn the other cheek (Mt. 5:38). Pray for your enemy (Mt. 5: 44). Give the thief your cloak (Lk. 6:29).”
In his February 11 condolence message on behalf of the Catholic Bishops in the West Africa brought together under the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama noted that Nnadi’s death had “raised a lot of questions” concerning the insecurity in Nigeria.
“This heartless murder of the 18-year-old young man whose only fault was to have wished to serve God as a priest has thrown all of us into a big sorrow and has raised a lot of questions concerning the insecurity in our region as a whole and in Nigeria in particular,” Archbishop Kaigama who is the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese stated in his February 11 message.
The Archbishop added, “We are equally touched by the pains of the family of late Mr. Michael Nnadi who must live with the sad memory of this horrible assassination. We ask the Lord to console them and grant them a lasting healing from the psychological injuries that this brutal murder has caused them.”
On the date of Nnadi’s burial, at least 5,000 people globally lit candles in his memory.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa