Nigerian Catholic Priest Who Escaped Nine-day Captivity “responding well to medication”

Fr. Elijah Juma Wada of Nigeria's Maiduguri Diocese who escaped from his abductors 8 July 2021/Credit: St. Paul Catholic Buma Parish

The member of the Clergy of Maiduguri Diocese who had been abducted June 30 and freed nine days later is “generally responding well to medication,” a Clergy of the Nigerian Diocese has told ACI Africa in an interview.

Suspected Boko Haram Boko Haram insurgents reportedly abducted Fr. Elijah Juma Wada along Damboa Maiduguri road in Borno State a day after he had left his Parish of St. Paul Catholic Buma where he is the Father in Charge.

In the Tuesday, July 13 interview, the Secretary of Maiduguri Diocese, Fr. John Bakeni told ACI Africa, “Fr. Juma regained his freedom on Thursday (July 8) last week after he escaped from his captors.”

“We thank God for his faithfulness. Our God is alive and on the throne. He will never disappoint us especially in critical times,” Fr. Bakeni added.

Fr. Juma was not in a perfect medical condition when he secured his freedom, the Diocesan Secretary said, and added in reference to the freed Priest, “He has been evacuated to a safe area for medical attention but as we speak, he is generally responding well to medication.”


Having escaped from his abductors, Fr. Bakeni said, no ransom seems to have been paid to secure the release of his Priest colleague.

Fr. Juma secured his freedom a couple of days after his colleague, in an interview with ACI Africa, appealed for prayers for his “quick and safe release.”

“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,” Fr. Bakeni told ACI Africa July 6 in reference to Fr. Juma, adding, “There has not been any official communication with those that abducted the Priest.”

Fr. Juma’s abduction was one of the latest in a series of kidnappings that seem to target Christians, including Catholic Priests in the West African nation.

Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country, Africa’s most populous nation, into an Islamic State.

More in Africa

Since then, the militia, one of largest Islamic sects in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets.

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.

In the July 6 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Bakeni reflected on the situation of insecurity in the country saying, “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.”

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

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."