On June 26, 2022, the nation was agog with news that an Edo Catholic priest, Rev.Fr. Christopher Odia, who was earlier abducted, had been killed by his captors.
The PUNCH reported that Odia was kidnapped while going for Sunday mass at St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo in the Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
Just a day earlier, on June 25, 2022, gunmen suspected to be terrorists killed a Kaduna State-based Catholic priest, Rev.Fr. Vitus Borogo.
Similarly, on July 6, the priest presiding on Holy Ghost parish, Eke-Olengbeche, Rev.Fr. Peter Amodu, was kidnapped by armed men along Otukpo Ugbokolo road, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Just like the late priest, Odia, Amou was abducted on his way to celebrate mass.
Catholic priests in Nigeria in recent weeks have not been spared from the growing insecurity in some parts of the country despite the claim by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that security was faring well under his regime.
A report by The PUNCH revealed that over 3,478 Nigerians were killed with 2,256 abducted in seven months between December 2021 and June 15, 2022.
There is, however, no doubt that Nigeria is in trouble with arms-bearing actors running across the country, seizing and killing Nigerians with reckless abandon.
However, the ransom-hungry terrorists, recently have fallen in love with catholic priests.
“At least 18 priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of 2022, five in the first week of July alone. Although most were released unharmed, three were killed”, Aide to the Church in Need, a global Catholic charity noted in a press release sent to our correspondent on Tuesday.
“It is really sad that in the course of their normal pastoral activities, priests have become an endangered species.
“Attempts have been made at various levels to cry to the government, say the priests, but as already observed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, it is clear to the nation that the government has failed in its primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens”, the religious charity noted.
Commenting on the development, ACN noted that the Nigerian Diocesan Catholic Priests Association in a statement sent to it called for a one week special prayer and fasting.
The body noted, “For this reason, and beginning July 11, the priests call on all their brothers in the ministry to join in a week of special prayer and fasting, Eucharistic adoration and recitation of the rosary.
“We humbly appeal to all priests to take it very seriously without neglecting other regulations and related recommendations in their various dioceses”.