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.”
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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.