Tributes are pouring in for Br. Godwin Eze, a Nigerian monk who was kidnapped by Fulani bandits and brutally killed, with those who knew the monk describing him as “very prayerful” and “very easygoing young man”.
Br. Godwin, a Benedictine Novice, was kidnapped on October 17 alongside Br. Anthony Eze and Br. Peter Olarewaju from the Benedictine Monastery, Eruku of Nigeria’s catholic Diocese of Ilorin.
While Br. Anthony and Br. Peter were set free on October 21, Br. Godwin, aged only 31, was shot and his body thrown into a river on October 18, a day after his kidnapping.
In a Tuesday, October 24 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Joseph Ekesiobi, a former Novice Director at the Nigerian Benedictine monastery confirmed the news of the murder of Br. Godwin who he described as “very jovial”.
“Br. Godwin lived a contemplative life. I remember him as a very easygoing young man. He was very jovial and very prayerful,” Fr. Joseph said.
The Priest said that Br. Godwin and his companions were abducted at around 1 a.m. as they slept in the Novitiate block at the Monastery.
“The Fulani bandits came armed. They broke through the iron doors of the Novitiate block where about 12 of our brothers, including Novices and Postulants, were sleeping. They took the three and went with them in the middle of the night,” Fr. Joseph said.
Br. Anthony and Br. Peter are Postulants at the Monastery where Br. Godwin lived a quiet life as a Novice.
In the interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Joseph recounted the experiences of the three following their abduction, saying, “They were forced to walk barefoot. They said that on the way, and throughout their captivity, they were beaten using machetes. Their abductors wanted money.”
He said that the two Benedictine Postulants who were set free are recovering in a hospital.
Meanwhile, a search has commenced to retrieve the body of Br. Godwin from the river where his captors threw it.
Fr. Joseph also told ACI Africa that the Nigerian Monastery had been forced to implement drastic measures following the October 17 attack and kidnapping.
“We have had to relocate our brothers to a safer place since we continue to receive threats of more attacks,” he said.