Nigerian Prelate Tests Positive for COVID-19, Advises Citizens to Go for Testing

Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of Nigeria’s Yola Diocese. He tested positive for COVID-19 August 23, 2020.

The Catholic Bishop of Nigeria’s Yola Diocese who has confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 has advised citizens of the West African nation to readily present themselves for the coronavirus tests when they are required to. 

“Today I have been tested positive of COVID-19,” Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza confirmed Sunday, August 23 in a Facebook post

Bishop Mamza who is aged 50 adds, “One lesson that I want people to appreciate and understand is that everybody has to make himself available for testing if need be.”

In the Facebook post, he confirms that he is in self-isolation under the care of medical practitioners and urges the general public to take COVID-19 preventive protocols seriously in order to help stop the spread of the pandemic.

The Local Ordinary of Yola is the first Prelate known to have contracted the virus in Africa’s most populous country where 52,227 cases have been reported, including 1,002 deaths and 38,945 recoveries.


In Africa, the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Phillip Cardinal Ouédraogo, tested positive for the virus in April and later recovered. Earlier, in March, the Vicar Apostolic of Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, succumbed to the virus.

Church leaders in Nigeria have sent goodwill messages to Bishop Mamza following the news of his illness, praying for his speedy recovery.

In their collective message, the leadership of the Catholic Broadcast Commission, Nigeria implore, “Loving Father, you send us Shepherds to guide us in our spiritual life. We thank you for the gift of this shepherd who has never failed in leading your flock that you have entrusted to him. In this time of Pandemic, he is not spared from the dangers of this disease as he continues his ministry.”

“We lift up to you our beloved bishop, Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza, Grant him healing and strength. May he always find refuge in your loving care,” they add in their Sunday, August 23 Facebook post.

The Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri describes Bishop Mamza as “a man of faith that has never given up on the power of The Almighty God to do the impossible” and further says that he believes the Prelate “would come out stronger from this trial.”

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“Our thoughts are with Bishop Dami Mamza at this trying period. I am optimistic that he will be fine because testing positive is not a death sentence,” said the Governor.

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.