, 01 February, 2020 / 11:52 PM
A day after the news of the release of two more seminarians who had been abducted January 8 alongside two others, a Nigerian Bishop has, “with a very heavy heart”, announced that the missing seminarian, a native of his diocese, had been murdered.
“With a very heavy heart, I wish to inform you that our dear son, Michael was murdered by the bandits on a date we cannot confirm,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese announced Saturday, February 1.
Aged 18, seminarian Michael Nnadi was the youngest of the four philosophy seminarians abducted from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary located in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria by gunmen camouflaged in military uniform on the night January 8.
One of the four seminarians was freed Saturday, January 18, having been dumped by the kidnappers along Nigeria’s Kaduna-Abuja highway and “helped by passersby”. He was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna where he has been receiving treatment.
The Registrar of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary announced the release of two other seminarians Friday, January 31 and appealed, “Kindly continue to pray for the remaining one and all those who are still in the hands of Kidnappers.”
In a statement to the people of God in Sokoto diocese within the Ecclesiastical province of Kaduna, Bishop Kukah stated that the seminarian who had been missing “and the wife of a doctor were arbitrarily separated from the group and killed.”
The Rector of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary “identified the corpse this afternoon,” Bishop Kukah stated in his February 1 statement availed to ACI Africa.
“The Lord knows best,” the 67-year-old Bishop said adding, “Let's remain strong and pray for the repose of his soul.”
Confirming that the parents of the seminarian had been informed about the sad event, Bishop Kukah stated in his Saturday message, “I had to delay this announcement until Mama got back from the market. We have broken the news to her and I will be with her.”
“Please let us be calm. May God give him eternal rest,” the Local Ordinary of Sokoto diocese concluded.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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