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Catholic Charity to Construct Nigerian Seminary’s Security Wall after Murder of Seminarian

Seminarians at the Good Shepherd Seminary in Nigeria's Sokoto Diocese carry the remains of Seminarian Michael Nnadi

Plans are underway to construct a wall around the Good Shepherd Seminary of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese where four Seminarians were abducted in January 2020 including Michael Nnadi who was later found murdered.

The leadership of the Catholic Pontifical Organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, has pledged €43,000.00 required to build the wall, which is intended to instill a sense of safety among the Seminarians at the institution who are said to be living in fear following the abduction incident.

Aged 18, Seminarian Nnadi was the youngest of the four first year philosophy Seminarians that were abducted from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary hosted by Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, Northwest of the country, by gunmen who were camouflaged in military uniform on the night of 8 January 2020.

Three of the Seminarians were later set free, a few weeks later, but Michael was not. His lifeless body was discovered abandoned. The news of Michael’s death was announced on 1 February 2020 by the Bishop of his native Diocese of Sokoto. 

The “revolver men,” as the Good Shepherd Seminary Rector, Fr. Habila Daboh, described the armed gang, attacked in the night, breaking down the door of the dormitory.

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Further recalling the abduction incident, the Nigerian Cleric told ACN that on hearing the Seminary guards arriving, the attackers seized the four Seminarians as hostages and fled.

A year later, ACN which reaches out to the persecuted Church all over the world says that the fervent prayers of Seminarian Nnadi’s 268 brother Seminarians are “rising up to heaven on his behalf.”

“His (Nnadi) death was a turning point,” the leadership of the international charity organization says in the Wednesday, April 7 report, and adds, “Ever since then, there has been an atmosphere of insecurity among the Seminarians, and many are afraid.”

ACN reports that the expansive Seminary is enclosed by a fence some 2.8 km in length.

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The fence, the leadership of the organization says, is however not difficult to penetrate, and the guards cannot be everywhere at once.

“Good Shepherd Seminary is in Northern Nigeria, where Christians are a minority and where the threat of Islamist terror lurks everywhere. And then there are the roving gangs of bandits, fired with racist hatred and religious fanaticism, who make the whole area unsafe,” ACN leadership reports.

Though Seminarian Nnadi’s murder has been said to have increased resilience in young people seeking to become Priests in Nigeria, Fr. Daboh is worried that some of the Seminarians, “who are not yet firm in their trust in God”, may be tempted to leave the Seminary because of their fears.

“We are already making sure that the Seminarians actually see the guards at their posts before they retire to sleep,” he said, adding that this is the only way to reassure them that they are safe.

A wall, however, will bring long-term peace of mind, the Good Shepherd Seminary Rector told ACN.

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ACN’s original intention was to surround the whole complex with a high wall, but the cost was prohibitive, the leadership of the Pontifical charity organization says.

“Now the Bishops have decided to return to the initial plan, as the security of the Seminarians and their teachers is at stake,” the charity organization reports.

It adds, “ACN does not routinely provide fences or protective walls, but situations like the one in Kaduna are clearly exceptional. We have promised the €43,000 required to build this almost 3 km long protective wall.”

According to the Pontifical organization, Vocations “not only need the sunshine of grace and the water of knowledge in order to flourish, but also a sense of security and protection from the storms of fanaticism, especially in their earlier years.”

ACN leadership is appealing for support to construct a wall around the Good Shepherd Seminary saying, “For €150, you can give them 10 metres of security wall and so help protect the future of Christianity in Nigeria.”