The Archbishop went on to pray for the release of those who are still in captivity and for the conversion of criminals including kidnapers and rapists.
“May Christ manifest Himself to the perpetrators of such evil actions as kidnapping, rape, killings, etc. and grant them a change of heart,” Archbishop Kaigama said.
Last month, the U.S. State Department listed Nigeria among the worst countries for religious freedom, describing the West African nation as a “country of particular concern (CPC).” This is a formal designation reserved for nations where the worst violations of religious freedom are taking place, the other countries being China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
The action by the U.S. State Department was lauded by the leadership of Knights of Columbus, with the Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson saying December 16, “Nigeria's Christians have suffered grievously at the hands of Boko Haram and other groups.”
The murders and kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria now “verge on genocide,” Anderson added.
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“The Christians of Nigeria, both Catholic and Protestant, deserve attention, recognition and relief now,” Anderson further said, adding, “Nigeria's Christians should be able to live in peace and practice their faith without fear."
A March 2020 special report released by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) indicates that “no fewer than 20 clergymen including at least eight Catholic Priests/Seminarians were hacked to death in the past 57 months and not less than 50 abducted or kidnapped.”
Catholic Bishops in the country 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,” the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said in their October 1 collective statement.