“Assault on religious freedom”: Nigeria’s Christian Leaders on Latest Attack on Worshipers

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The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the Saturday, July 1 attack on worshipers at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in the country’s Ogun State.

Gunmen attacked the RCCG during a vigil on the night of July 1, reportedly killing the Pastor and abducting seven worshippers, who were later rescued. 

“The attack on worshippers at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Abule-Ori, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, is an assault on religious freedom in Nigeria,” CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, says in a Wednesday, July 5 statement.

The official of the entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) says they are mourning “the loss of the Pastor and condemn the kidnapping of worshippers who were simply exercising their religious freedom to worship.”

Archbishop Okoh commends security agencies for “their swift response to the incident and call for intensified efforts to apprehend all the perpetrators.”


Ogun State Police Command and the Social Orientation and Safety Corps (So-Safe Corps) rescued the kidnapped worshippers on Sunday, July 2 in an operation that reportedly saw one of the kidnappers killed.

In the July 5 statement, CAN President calls upon security agencies in Africa's most populous nation to increase vigilance on places of worship and provide worshippers with security during religious gatherings. 

“CAN urges citizens not to be discouraged by recent losses but to continue to look up to God for help. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families and churches,” he says.

CAN President also mourns the 12 pastors, a baby, and a driver who lost their lives in a road accident that occurred on June 29 in Benin State.

Archbishop Okoh says the demise of the members of the Salvation Army “is a devastating blow to the congregation, the body of Christ in Nigeria, and the nation at large.”

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“We stand with the Salvation Army during this very difficult time in prayer, asking that God will comfort them and ease their pain,” he says. 

The CAN official also calls on the government to “thoroughly investigate the accident in order to prevent a repeat of this episode.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.