Appeal for Prayers “for quick, safe release of Fr. Dajo Matthew, kidnapped” November 22

Fr. Dajo Matthew, who was kidnapped during the night of Sunday, November 22 in Nigeria's Abuja Archdiocese.
Credit: Public Domain

Prayers are being sought in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese “for the quick and safe release of Rev. Fr. Dajo Matthew” who was kidnapped during the night of Sunday, November 22.

“Please join us and the Archdiocese of Abuja in praying for the quick and safe release of Rev. Fr. Dajo Matthew, who was kidnapped in a violent attack in the town where his parish is located, last night, November 22, 2020,” officials of Voice of the Faithful in Abuja Archdiocese say in a Facebook Post.

According to Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, Fr. Matthew “was picked up from his parish at St Anthony's Catholic Church, Yangoji, after armed bandits raided the community and shot sporadically for about 30 minutes.”

“The gunmen scaled through the fence of the Priest’s house, while others positioned themselves outside, before entering Fr. Matthew’s bedroom and whisked him away,” Fr. Kevin recounts.

He implores, “Please let us remember our Priest, Fr. Matthew and all other kidnapped fellows, that God will be their hope and rescue them from the savage situation.”

The Nigerian Catholic Cleric laments, “Our security system has always been fraught with flaws, but under Buhari, it is in tatters. Under the incumbent commander in Chief of the Armed forces of Nigeria, criminals have become so emboldened; they can abduct a bus-load of people in broad daylight, without fear of being apprehended.”

Following the attack and kidnapping of Fr. Matthew, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command reportedly launched a manhunt for the abductors.

“The Commissioner of Police, FCT, Bala Ciroma, has launched a manhunt to trail and apprehend the suspects,” Police public relations officer of the command, Miriam Yusuf has been quoted as saying November 23.

The Nigerian police PR officer added, “The command urges members of the public to remain calm, while it intensifies effort to liberate the victim unhurt.”

She went on to say in the statement, “While urging residents to be security conscious and promptly report all suspicious movements, the command wishes to reiterate its unflinching commitment to the protection of lives and property in the Federal Capital Territory.”

The state of insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation has heightened in recent weeks, according to reports.

On September 27, at least seven soldiers were killed in a landmine ambush by Boko Haram insurgents in the Northern axis of Borno State, BBC News reported.

The Medical Director of Peace Hospital, Ayingba, Dr Azubuike Joel Ihenacho, was on November 21 abducted by unidentified gunmen. 

On November 23, two persons were abducted in Nasarawa State, while one was killed barely 24 hours after  APC chairman in the state, Philip Shekwo had been kidnapped and killed, Vanguard reported.

The West African nation has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.

Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

The insecurity situation in the country has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers over grazing land.

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria  have repeatedly called on the government to put in place strict measures to protect her citizens.

“It is just unimaginable and inconceivable to celebrate Nigeria at 60 when our roads are not safe; our people are kidnapped, and they sell their properties to pay ransom to criminals,” members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said in a collective statement on October 1.

They added, “Nigerians are experiencing an invasion of their farmlands by armed Fulani-herdsmen; a group well organized and already designated as the fourth deadliest terrorists' group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index.”


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