“Our joy was short lived as the story has progressively gotten far worse,” the Bishops lamented.
They added, “Today, almost the entire northern states are in the grip of these purveyors of violence and death. In the last three years, we have witnessed the relentless attacks and ransacking of entire communities by bandits in states like Benue, Kebbi, Plateau, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara. Thousands of lives have been lost to these bandits who have operated with relentless abandon.”
The Bishops of Nigeria’s Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province affirmed that the ravages of Boko Haram, the herdsmen, kidnappers and the bandits have “turned everyone into a victim.”
“The people of Southern Kaduna feel abandoned by their governor in their grief,” the Bishops said, a view that Fr. Sam concurs with.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church - so that you can grow in your Catholic faith.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to stay informed, and to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates!
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“What makes all of this even more difficult is the fact that the government doesn't take decisive measures to curb the menace. This is the most devastating and frustrating thing to fathom,” Fr Sam says.
The Cleric in Nigeria explains the difficulty of preaching to victims of the violence.
“Another thing that is difficult to deal with is to preach forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and love to people whose means of livelihood has been snatched away from them, their prosperity ebbing away and destroyed as a result of these attacks,” he says.
All communities where banditry has increased the most are the areas where the missionaries carry out their ministry. They all fall under the main parish of St Joseph's in Kagoro, in the Diocese of Kafanchan where Fr. Sam ministers.
“For the past seven weeks, we have been burying our parishioners with no end in sight. These last attacks have left us all in fear and especially the fear of the unknown because we do not know when the next round of attacks will happen and what will trigger it. We cannot worship in peace. We have no confidence in the safety of our homes,” says Fr Sam.
He adds in his sharing with ACN officials, “Our movements are limited; our faithful cannot freely go about their activities. It is farming season now, but they dare not go to their farms for fear of being attacked there. They have left their crops to perish. It is like we have been left to perish because of our faith.”
Asked about his task as a missionary Priest, Fr. Sam says, “When you shepherd people and such attacks occur, it is as hard for you as it is for them. But you must be available to them, to comfort them, pray for them and encourage them to keep their faith in God and to stand firm.”
“We offer spiritual, moral, and material support the best that we can,” Fr. Sam says in reference to his ministry as a missionary Priest among the people of God under attack in Nigeria’s Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province.
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.