Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2024
More Christians killed in Nigeria each year than everywhere else in the world combined and :

Recently, one of two priests kidnapped in Nigeria were released, and this is a common scene in the African country. In 2024 alone, at least ten priests have been abducted.


They are often kidnapped with the goal of receiving a ransom or to further religious fanaticism.


In terms of religious persecution, Nigeria ranks 6th on the 2024 World Watch List. Since 2019, more than 17,000 Nigerians, most of them Christians, have been abducted, according to the Civil Society Joint Action Group.


Janada  Marcus who escaped from Boko Haram said, “They killed my father in front of me. They kidnapped me. We lost everything”.


This violence is not a new problem. Last year, Pope Francis dedicated part of one of his General Audiences to a priest who had been killed.

In January 2023, Pope Francis said,I ask all of you to pray with me for Father Isaac Achi, of the Diocese of Minna, northern Nigeria, who was killed last Sunday in the rectory. How many Christians personally suffer violence: let us pray for them!”


Fr. Isaac was just one of the Christians in the northern and central parts of the country who face armed bandits and radical Islamic groups. The organization, Open Doors, reports that more Christians are killed for their faith every year in Nigeria than everywhere else in the world combined.


Nigeria: Another priest abducted


Unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest from his parish in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria on Sunday June 9.


Father Gabriel Ukeh was taken from the rectory at St. Thomas's Parish, Zaman Dabo in the early hours, according to a statement released by Father Emmanuel Faweh Kazah, vicar general at Kafanchan Diocese.


In the statement, Fr. Kazah asks for prayers for Fr. Ukeh's "urgent and safe release" and condemns the "incessant kidnappings for ransom of innocent and defenceless citizens of our communities".


He goes on to "call upon the Government to horn its security intelligence. As we work with security operatives for his quick release, we wish to call on all to stay away from taking the laws into their hands. We will use every legitimate means to ensure that [Father Ukeh] comes back to us safe and sound."


The statement concludes: "Through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Priests and Religious, may Jesus the crucified hearken to our prayers and hasten the unconditional release of his priest and [all] other abducted persons."


The diocese has not released any details about the abductors' identities.