Christians Pay Tribute to Murdered Nigerian Seminarian, To Be Laid to Rest Feb. 11

Poster Announcing the Funeral of the Late Michael Nnadi.
Credit: Diocese of Sokoto

Days after the murder of Nigerian seminarian Michael Nnadi became public, Christians across the globe have paid tribute to the 18-year-old orphan twin, terming him a “martyr” amid concerns over insecurity in Africa’s most populous country. Plans for his burial on Tuesday, February 11 are underway, beginning with Holy Mass at Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna.

Michael, a native of Nigeria’s Sokoto diocese, was among four seminarians kidnapped from Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Nigeria’s Kaduna State the night of January 8. He was murdered by his abductors on January 28. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese broke the news of Michael’s death “with a very heavy heart” on Saturday, February 1.

Since then, Michael, who has a twin brother and was brought up by his grandmother, has been mourned globally, with some of those who knew him expressing the gap his unfortunate death has left in their respective lives.

“Oh, dear brother!!! Your space in the chapel, empty. Your bed in the hostel, empty. Your seat in the refectory, empty. Your sporting field, empty. Your seat in your class, empty. You were taken away by wicked people. You were killed by wicked people. You died a Martyr, we love you all, we will miss you. Rest in Peace,” mourned El-Victor Majelo David Ibn Sairuwaon through his Facebook (FB) account.

For Harold C. Johnson, the late Michael was “Not murdered but, Martyred, in the name of Christ.”

“What greater gift does one have than sacrifice life; for LIFE. The Highest level of an example of walking in the footsteps of Christ and into the Kingdom of God,” Johnson tweeted and added, “we MUST forgive those who took him from this life.”

Jerry Joe Mary has put in writing the hopes and aspirations of Michael’s guardian in his FB page where he posted, “Your grandma gave you to the Church. And you chose to let go all the Gold in the world just to carry your cross and follow Jesus.

“Your grandma was hoping that one day she will see you laying down flat for the litany of the saints. Your grandma was hoping that she will see the Bishop and other priest lay hands and place on you the pastoral blessings,” Jerry posted.

He went on to write, “Your grandma was hoping that one day she will see you vest with an Alb, stole, cincture and chasuble. Your grandma was hoping that one day she will kneel down while you bless her. Your grandma was hoping one day she will be called mummy Fr. Your grandma was hoping that one day she will see you celebrate your First mass. Your grandma was hoping that one day you will lift up the (chalice) cup of salvation.”

“Today your Killers have made you a Saint. You will now be called patron saint of seminarians. Death be not proud. Rest in peace Mike,” Jerry Joe Mary concluded his post.

“Father Lord!!! Only you understand and know this drama that is going on in this country, called Nigeria,” Elizabeth Ojochogwu Ameh grieved via FB and added, “The children of the masses are no longer safe, even your own shepherds, and those under formation, what then can the voiceless say or do, it’s pained me to say Rest on brother. Heaven is your eternal home. May the Angels welcome your soul.”

Florence Folashade Ademola has bemoaned, “I beg, this killing is too much, our hearts bleed for these innocent and precious ones been wasted. Oh God you alone know how to judge this wicked Beast doing this to Nigeria and don't let your judgment be delayed. Lord wipe the scoffers of your gospel away.”

“What sad news, this is serious, the country of our dream has become a war zone for blood bath. Lord help your children,” Joseph Arim posted on his FB page and added, “May the soul of bro Nnadi Michael and that of the departed rest in the bosom of our Lord.”

“The news of the brutal murder of this innocent young man saddens me deeply. I am appalled at the unleashing of such terrible evil,” remarked the Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Dr. Thomas Heine Geldern.

“While we focus on the martyred Seminarian, let us not forget his co-martyr, the wife of the doctor and the pain of the husband and dad of the two children who may also be martyred any day from now. If they've not been martyred ready,” a source in Nigeria told ACI Africa early this week.

The source shared a poster with the image of the “wife of Dr. Philip” who was murdered alongside Michael bearing the words: “Your sad and wasteful departure at the hands of mindless individuals will never be forgotten. We apologize that as a country we failed you, your family and community. But looking at you today, we are reminded that we cannot this destruction and carnage to continue. So, we pray, Oh God help us to act NOW, before the next Nigerians is brought down.”

The image of the murdered woman has the caption: “Wife of Dr. Philip, Kaduna-based Fr. Philip Adaga, whose wife and two children were abducted and the kidnappers are asking for N20m (US$54,800.00) to release the children after killing their mum.”

Michael and his twin Richard were born February 16, 2001 and baptized May 26, of the same year at the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral of Sokoto Diocese in the extreme northwest of Nigeria.

In 2018, Michael was admitted as a seminarian of Nigeria’s Sokoto diocese and proceeded, for his Spiritual year, to St. Paul Spiritual Year Seminary, Niger State in the central part of the country until June 2019.

Last October, he continued with his formation to the priesthood, joining the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna. Michael and the three other seminarians abducted with him on January 8 were all first-year philosophy students.

Since January 11, the abductors were reportedly making contacts with the family members of the four seminarians to discuss ransoms for their release, a source in Nigeria told ACI Africa January 12.

One of the four seminarians was freed Saturday, January 18. The kidnappers dumped him along Nigeria’s Kaduna-Abuja highway and was “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.

On January 31, the Registrar of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary announced the release of two other seminarians and appealed, “Kindly continue to pray for the remaining one and all those who are still in the hands of Kidnappers.”

Announcing the murder of Michael by his abductors, Bishop Kukah of Sokoto said Michael “and the wife of a doctor were arbitrarily separated from the group and killed.”

“Michael Nnadi is Igbo-Biafran by origin. Chances are that his murder is not unconnected to the ethnic profiling and cleansing,” a source from Nigeria told ACI Africa February 5.

A source in Nigeria recently told ACI Africa that the abductions and selected murders are being perpetrated by “a state-funded movement called: The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWAS).”

According to the source, MOJWAS has members “spread across West Africa – from central Mali, moving towards Nigeria, via Niger Republic with a strong alliance from some people and the Tillaberi region of Niger Republic. They are active in the Chad basin and joined Boko Haram and extend to the select and 3R groups in Central Africa Republic CAR.”

The agenda of MOJWAS, the source said, “is to conquer the rich river basin of the Benue valley for both economic and religious reasons.”

“Brothers and sisters let us rise and begin to talk,” the source told ACI Africa and added in reference to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various States, “We must begin to engage this government at all levels now!”

Magdalene Kahiu contributed to this story


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
[email protected]