Nigerians “on edge; nobody is safe anywhere”: Catholic Archbishop amid Rising Insecurity

Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of Nigeria's Kaduna Archdiocese. Credit: ACN

The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna in Nigeria has decried the deteriorating security in various parts of the West African nation, regretting the fact that “nobody is safe anywhere” in the country.

In an interview with the Pontifical charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International that was reported Wednesday, June 29, Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso said Christians in Nigeria are living in “fear and uncertainty” after the fatal shooting of one of his Priests, Fr. Vitus Borogo, on June 25.

“Everybody is on edge – all of us, the clergy, the laypeople, everybody. People are afraid, and rightly so. People are traumatized, and rightly so,” Archbishop Ndagoso told ACN.

He added, “With this situation, nobody is safe anywhere. If you go out of your house, even in the daytime, until you come back, you are not safe.”

Two Catholic Priests were killed in separate incidences in their respective Nigerian Dioceses, one in Kaduna Archdiocese on June 25, and the other in Auchi Diocese on June 26.


Fr. Borogo was killed on June 25 at Prison Farm in Kaduna when “terrorists” raided the farm. Meanwhile, 41-year-old Fr. Christopher Odia was killed after having been abducted June 26 morning as he left his Parish residence to go for Holy Mass.

ACN has reported that “bandits murdered Father Borogo while visiting family at Kaduna Correctional Centre Farm, Kujama.” They kidnapped the Priest’s younger brother and one other man.

In the interview with ACN, Archbishop Ndagoso said the Church “was still struggling to understand why the pastor was killed.”

“It was completely unexpected. They are kidnappers, they are looking for money. We don’t know why they killed him,” the Nigerian Archbishop said, and added, “Obviously, they wanted to kidnap all of them, but for some reason they chose to kill him, only God knows why.”

The 62-year-old Archbishop further said the “Church has no information about the identity of the attackers, nor have any ransom demands been issued for the men who were seized.”

More in Africa

The West African nation of Nigeria “is grappling with a wave of violence by armed gangs who frequently carry out killings and kidnappings for ransom – mostly in unprotected rural communities,” BBC News reported in April.

Since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency emerged with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state, Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity.

Boko Haram, 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 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.

Speaking at an ACN conference earlier this month, Archbishop Ndagoso said that in the last three years, “seven of his Priests have been kidnapped and two have been killed.”


“In 50 of my parishes, priests cannot stay in their rectories, because they are targets, they are seen as an easy source of money for ransom,” he said during the June 3 conference, and added, “I cannot go on pastoral visits like I usually do, Priests cannot go to villages and say Masses.”

On June 27, members of the Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria expressed concern over the increase in cases of killings and kidnappings that seem to target Christians in the West African nation.

“The Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria are alarmed over the incessant and increased abduction and killing of Catholic Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church, and the attack on Catholic Churches and innocent worshippers,” the Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria said.

They called on the Federal government and the Nigerian Security Agencies and apparatus “to do their work of protecting the lives of citizens which is their avowed duty.”

The Papal Knights further called on the Muhammadu Buhari-led government “to take the Security of the people as a priority and in particular work hard to protect the lives of all the citizenry.”

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.