On the night of January 8, men in military uniform accessed Nigeria’s Good Shepherd Major Seminary where 268 seminarians were housed.
In a 30-minute operation from about 10.30, the gunmen took off with four seminarians studying philosophy: Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; Stephen Amos, 23; and Michael Nnadi, 18. They also stole laptops and mobile phones.
The Seminary administration is yet to provide the identity of the three seminarians who have been so far freed, including the situation of the one released January 18 with serious injuries and had been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The abductors dumped him on the side of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria highway and rescued by passersby.
The President of the international Catholic pastoral charitable organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Thomas Heine-Beldern who termed 2019 “a year of martyrs, one of the bloodiest for Christians in history” said that “the security situation in Nigeria is appalling.”
Heine-Beldern has compared the situation in Nigeria to that of Iraq prior to the Islamic State's invasion saying, “Already at that stage, Christians were being abducted, robbed and murdered because there was no protection by the state. This must not be allowed to happen to the Christians of Nigeria. The government must act now, before it is too late.”
The pleas are yet to be heeded. On January 20, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government area of the State of Adamawa, Rev. Lawan Andimi, a Protestant Pastor in Nigeria’s Brethren Church of Christ, was murdered.
On January 26, the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari ordered airstrikes against “bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers” who have been operating from the forested areas neighboring Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states in Africa’s most populous country.
On Thursday, January 30, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama called on the Nigerian government to adopt the approach of taking “war to the criminals.”
“Our security agents must do more; our government must take the war to the criminals or those who say they are killing in the name of God,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his address at the Silver Jubilee celebration of Jos Ecclesiastical Province at St John's Cathedral, Bauchi in northern Nigeria.
Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent months, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.