, 25 January, 2020 / 3:51 AM
Following the January 20 killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government area of the State of Adamawa, the Catholic Bishop of Yola that covers Adamawa State has declared three days of fasting and prayer in honor of the murdered church leader, described by a Catholic priest who knew him personally as “a simple and devout Pastor.”
CAN Chair Rev. Lawan Andimi, a Protestant Pastor in Nigeria’s Brethren Church of Christ, known as Eklisayar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN) in Hausa language, was abducted by members of Boko Haram following their January 2 raid on Michika in Adamawa, northeast of Nigeria. He was executed by the militants Monday, January 20, an incident reported in the media.
Addressing a press conference in his office on Thursday, January 23, Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of the Catholic Diocese of Yola who doubles as the Chairman of CAN in Adamawa State declared three days of fasting and prayer “to seek God’s divine intervention regarding recent killings in Adamawa state.”
Triggered by the murder of Pastor Andimi, Bishop told reporters that the January 27-29 period would be devoted to “fervent prayers for God to avert and end the trend” of targeted abductions and killings, Yola Catholic Vision News reported.
The Bishop described Pastor Andimi’s murder as “sad and alarming” and condemned “the killing of people in cold blood across Nigeria.”
The 50-year-old Nigerian Prelate has also been quoted as urging Nigeria’s “federal and state Governments to redouble efforts in ensuring lasting security and peace across the country as well as activities of the terrorists in the North East.”
In a message shared with Aid to the Church in Need International (ACN) and extended to ACI Africa, a Catholic priest in Yola Diocese described Pastor Andimi as “a simple and devout Pastor who handled his responsibility of pastoring his flock with diligence. He was an amiable Pastor and was also a responsible family man. He showed great commitment to his family, flock and his work as the Chairman of Michika local government of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”
Having known the late Pastor and expressing the sentiments of others who knew the church leader, the priest recounted, “From my experience of him and the close testimony of his flock I would say he was a good Christian.”
The cleric explained referencing late Rev. Andimi, “He had quite good self-control among the many good virtues he possessed. He finally witnessed to God with his life at the hands of the insurgents. Not neglecting his weaknesses, he was a committed Christian Leader.”
“It's terribly sad news for the Christian community in Michika, his flock, family and friends and indeed the Christian Community in Nigeria,” the Catholic Priest bemoaned and added, “It is also worrying that events are unfolding in this manner. The Christian community is saddened especially by his gruesome murder by his abductors.”
The cleric prayed that Rev. Andimi’s “death would unite Christians in praying for peace. His death is great loss to us as Christians in Michika and especially for those of us who knew him personally.”
According to Human Rights Watch World Report 2020, the northeastern part of Nigeria has borne the brunt of Boko Haram attacks in the last 10 years, with fighting between the insurgents and security forces killing an estimated 27,000 people, among them 37 aid workers. The report indicates that in 2019 alone, 640 civilians were killed following renewed fighting between the militants and government forces.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa