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Nigeria: Priests are ‘Endangered Species’ Who are Constantly Persecuted

Nigeria: Priests are ‘Endangered Species’ Who are Constantly Persecuted

Christian priests in Nigeria are increasingly under attack from those who are hostile to the Christian faith. reports that the most recent incident of violence against priests in Nigeria occurred when three priests were attacked and one was kidnapped, allegedly by Fulani herdsmen.

Two of the priests were injured in the incident. One of the priests was shot in the head and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Another priest, Fr. Emmanuel Dim, Rector of Tansi Major Seminary, was kidnapped and is reportedly being held for ransom.

However, director of communications for the diocese of Nnewi in Anambra State, Fr. Hyginus Aghaulor, stated that "The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has decided and directed that ransom should not be paid for the kidnap of any of its priests and anybody that is demanding for ransom for the release of any priest kidnapped is wasting time. If anybody or group goes ahead to pay ransom for the release of any priest, the person or the group is on his own."

Aghaulor added that persecution of priests is becoming more and more common in Nigeria.

"One begins to wonder if Catholic priest have become [an] endangered species,” he said.

Aghaulor places much of the blame on government officials:

"While innocent people are left unprotected, we have seen barrage of military wares and personnel protecting the pipelines in Niger Delta, as if oil is more important than people's life. Why should people be killed without provocation in their own traditional lands?" he asked.


Publication date: September 30, 2016