Priest Returning from Pastoral Duties in Nigeria Shot Dead, Archdiocese in “great shock”

Fr. Charles Onomhoale Igechi, shot dead while returning from pastoral duties in Nigeria’s Benin City Archdiocese on Wednesday, June 7. Credit: Benin City Archdiocese

Fr. Charles Onomhoale Igechi, a Catholic Priest, who was returning from pastoral duties in Nigeria’s Benin City Archdiocese on Wednesday, June 7 was shot dead, the Local Ordinary has said.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Thursday, June 8, Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze expresses “great shock” following the death of the Priest who was to mark his first Priestly anniversary in August.

Archbishop Akubeze says, “With great shock we received the news this morning that he was shot on his way back to his place of assignment, on the 7th of June, 2023 and his remains were found by Boundary Street in Ikpoba Hill, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.”

“The appropriate security agency has been informed and they are presently working on the case,” he further says, and adds, “We pray that the perpetrators of this evil act will be brought to the face of justice.” 

The Nigerian Archbishop appeals for prayers for the soul of Fr. Onomhoale, who was ordained a Priest on 13 August 2022, saying, “We therefore wish to solicit for your prayers for the happy repose of his soul.”


“There shall be a Mass for the peaceful repose of Rev. Fr. Charles Onomhoale Igechi, tomorrow June 9, 2023 at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre's Chapel at 10:00am,” Archbishop Akubeze says, addressing himself to Priests in his Metropolitan See. 

“I entrust you all to the maternal intercession of our Lady of Sorrow,” the Local Ordinary of Benin City Archdiocese says in his June 8 statement on the death of Fr. Onomhoale, who was serving as the Vice Principal of St. Michael College, Ikhueniro.

Fr. Charles Onomhoale Igechi, shot dead while returning from pastoral duties in Nigeria’s Benin City Archdiocese on Wednesday, June 7. Credit: Benin City Archdiocese

He implores, “May God continue to guide and protect all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Benin City and may the soul of Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi find peace and tranquility in the loving embrace of our risen Saviour. Amen.”

The June 7 murder of Fr. Onomhoale is the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted members of the Clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.

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On June 2, Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, a Catholic Priest in Nigeria’s Nnewi Diocese was abducted and later set free.

Last month, Fr. Matthias Opara, a Priest of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri was abducted while returning from a funeral; he was later released on Pentecost Sunday 2023.

Earlier, on May 19, Fr. Jude Kingsley Maduka, a Nigerian Catholic Priest serving in Okigwe Diocese was kidnapped and freed after three days of captivity.

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was sworn in on May 29, to prioritize the security concerns and the economic struggles of the people of God in the West African nation.

“Nigeria is facing a number of challenges that require strong and decisive leadership,” Rev. Daniel Okoh said on May 29, and added, “From security concerns to economic struggles, it is clear that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria can reach its full potential.”


Earlier, the Catholic Bishop of the country’s Sokoto Diocese called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to identify what is behind the “scars, wounds and injuries” of Nigerians even as he prioritizes their healing.

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who was speaking at the 2023 presidential inauguration lecture held in Abuja on May 27 lamented, “We have so many of our citizens who have lost their lives and a lot who are in captivity.”

The vocal Nigerian Catholic Bishop who is also known for good governance advocacy said that the “worst thing that can happen to us is to pretend that everything is okay because everything is not okay.”

The West African nation has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, kill.

The country has been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, a group that allegedly aims at turning it into an Islamic nation.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.