“All our property, my books, everything is gone,” Nigerian Cleric on Torched Parish House

An image of the Parish House of St. Mary's Catholic Parish in Nigeria's Diocese that burnt down in unclear circumstances.

The Priest-in-Charge of St. Mary’s Parish of Nigeria’s Zaria Diocese that was razed last week under unclear circumstances has, in an interview with ACI Africa, recalled the damage, saying they lost “everything” that was in the Parish house.

“All our property, all my books for my studies are gone. Everything is gone,” Fr. Isek Augustine told ACI Africa in the Monday, March 8 interview.

Fr. Augustine who has been at the helm of the three-outstation Parish since October 2020 said he regrets the loss of various items including books that he had accumulated for 16 years in his area of expertise, Canon Law, which he studied in Rome.

According to the Cleric, the house that had the capacity to accommodate four Priests was torched at around 1.30 a.m. March 2, when he alongside his colleagues were away for their weeklong retreat at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.


“We do not know exactly what happened. All we have now are speculations. We suspect external interference. It seems like somebody just wants to sabotage whatever efforts we have right now for pastoral work,” he said and added, “There was no electricity and all equipment was put off.”

“The house is completely burnt, we cannot reconstruct it. We can only build a new house. There is already a new design for the house,” the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Parish told ACI Africa, adding that the team coordinating the construction is working on the Bill of Quantities.

In the meantime, Fr. Augustine said, the immediate undertaking is the modification of the Parish offices “into a temporary residence where we could stay as we carry out our pastoral duties.”

“I’m still at the Pastoral Centre. They gave me a room to stay for a while. I drive down to the Parish, do my work and come back. It’s about 20-minutes’ drive,” he said.

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The member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Zaria Diocese is seeking assistance toward “a temporary residence” at the Parish.

“I’m appealing to as many people as possible who can reach out to us with whatever they can afford so that we put up a temporary residence so that we can be on the ground to carry out our pastoral work,” Fr. Augustine appealed.

The modification of the offices to a temporary residence is estimated to cost 1.5 million naira (US$.3,940.00), Fr. Augustine told ACI Africa and added, “It is not just modification but we also have to start furnishing the house and buying items. We do not have anything right now.”


The burning down of the Parish House came slightly a week after St. Augustine Kutura in Kajuru Local area in the neighboring Archdiocese of Kaduna was torched by bandits who also killed three people and kidnapped others.

“Keep us in your prayers,” Fr. Bivang Thaddeus, the Priest-in-Charge of St. Michael’s Pastoral Area where the razed church belongs told ACI Africa, adding that he also lost a church leader in the February 27 incident.