Abducted Catholic Priest in Nigeria Released, Diocese “grateful”

Fr. Marcellinus Obioma Okide freed from Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese on September 21 after days in captivity. Credit: Enugu Diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Enugu in Nigeria has expressed gratitude to God and the faithful following the release of Fr. Marcellinus Obioma Okide, who had been abducted on September 17.

In a Friday, September 22 statement that ACI Africa obtained, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese says, “We are glad to inform you that our brother and priest, Fr. Marcellinus Obioma Okide, has been released from the den of the kidnappers.” 

Fr. Wilfred Chidi Agubuchie adds that Fr. Okide “was set free at about 8.00 pm on Thursday 21 September 2023.”

“The Catholic Diocese of Enugu is grateful to the Almighty God for His protection over Fr. Okide, and thanks you for your prayers and Masses throughout this difficult period,” Fr. Agubuchie says following the release of the Parish Priest of St. Mary Amofia-Agu Affa Parish of Enugu Diocese.

The Chancellor of Enugu Diocese goes on to implore, “May Our Lady, Help of Christians, intercede for us and our country Nigeria.”


Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.

Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

The insecurity situation in the country has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia.

The case of Fr. Okide is the latest in a series of kidnappings and murders in Africa’s most populous nation involving members of the Clergy, Seminarians, and other Christians. 

On August 2, a Priest and Seminarian were abducted from the Diocese of Minna. Fr. Paul Sanogo from Mali and Seminarian Melchior Mahinini from Tanzania were released on August 23 after three weeks in captivity.

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In an interview with ACI Africa on September 1, the two members of the Missionaries of Africa (M.Afr.) said the trauma they experienced during their three-week captivity was a blessing as it had strengthened their faith.

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.