Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Demand Justice for Diocese following Deadly Arson Attack

Fr. Isaac Achi, a Nigerian Catholic priest, was murdered in Niger State on 15 January 2023. | Diocese of Minna

Members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) are demanding the arrest of people who torched down Sts. Peter and Paul Kaffin Koro Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Minna in an attack that resulted in the death of the Parish Priest.

In a condolence message sent to Bishop Martin Igwemezie Uzoukwu of Minna, the President of CBCN, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, says that the Church in Nigeria received the news of the arson attack “with great shock and sadness”.

“We received the news of the gruesome killing of Fr. Isaac Achi of the Catholic Diocese of Minna in his Presbytery by arsonists in the early hours of Sunday, 15 January 2023, with great shock and sadness,” Archbishop Ugorji says in the statement shared with ACI Africa on Monday, January 16.

He adds, “We condemn in the strongest terms this horrifying act of murder as barbaric, cruel, and heartless. The security agents must do all it takes to arrest the criminals behind this murder and bring them to face the wrath of the law.”

“Criminals must not be allowed to move freely in our communities. This only emboldens them to go on committing more and more crimes,” the Archbishop of Owerri says


The Catholic Diocese of Minna announced the killing of Fr. Issac Achi in a message that was obtained by ACI Africa on January 15.

“It is on a sad note that we announce the death of Very Rev.  Fr. Issac Achi of the Catholic Diocese of Minna,” the Diocese said, adding that Fr. Achi’s Assistant, Fr. Collins Omeh survived the attack, and had been hospitalized “in critical condition”.

Fr. Achi “was shot dead by Bandits that attacked the Parish in the early hours of today,” the message from the Nigerian Catholic Diocese indicated, adding, “Please, remember Minna Diocese in your Prayers.”

A video clip obtained by ACI Africa showed the burnt body of Fr. Achi in a building that was seen still in flames.

In the January 16 statement shared with ACI Africa, Archbishop Ugorji appeals to the Nigerian government to be more proactive in guaranteeing security and safety for all Nigerians "in all the nooks and crannies of the country," saying, "This is its primary responsibility. It goes without saying that a government that fails in the sector of security has failed woefully."

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"We pray for his happy repose and commiserate with the Diocese of Minna and his biological family, who mourn him. May he sleep in the peace of Christ and rise in his glory!” the President of CBCN says.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.