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Prayer Appeal for Quick, Safe Release of Priest Kidnapped in Nigeria’s Maiduguri Diocese

Fr. Elijah Juma Wada abducted last week in Nigeria's Maiduguri Diocese/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

Prayers are being sought in Nigeria’s Maiduguri Diocese for the speedy and safe release of Fr. Elijah Juma Wada who was abducted last week.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Diocesan Secretary of Maiduguri, Fr. John Bakeni, said members of Boko Haram were behind the June 30 abduction of Fr. Juma, the Parish Priest of St. Paul Catholic Buma Parish.

“Kindly join us in praying for the quick and safe release of Rev. Fr. Elijah Juma Wada, who was abducted by suspected members of Boko Haram sect along Damboa Maiduguri road in Borno State on Wednesday, June 30,” Fr. Bakeni told ACI Africa Tuesday, July 6.

The abducted Priest, Fr. Bakeni said, had left the parish the previous day, on July 29.

“He spent the night in Biu Local Government Area before proceeding on his journey the following day (Wednesday, June 30) along Biu-Damaturu when he was abducted,” the Cleric said, aand added, “There has not been any official communication with those that abducted the Priest.”

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Fr. Juma’s abduction is the latest in a series of kidnappings that seem to target Christians, including Priests in Nigeria. 

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 militia, 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.

Reflecting on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria during the July 6 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Badeni said, “We need all the prayers at this time and the international community to assist our government and our security agencies where possible to stop this menace.”

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“Continue to pray for us,” the member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Maiduguri Diocese added.

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

“Insecurity, clearly evident in widespread loss of lives and property, has left the impression that the country’s leaders are either unable – or worse still, unwilling – to take up the responsibilities of their office,” the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said in their statement issued February 23.

As a way forward, the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria recommended "a formal meeting of statesmen and women across the board for us to think through the challenges that seem poised to push us into the abyss."