Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Another Catholic Priest

Mr Odia’s death brings to two the number of Catholic priests killed by gunmen in the country in less than 24 hours.

The Catholic Diocese of Auchi in Edo State has confirmed the death of Christopher Odia, a reverend father, who was abducted on Sunday by gunmen in the state.

Mr Odia, 41, was the administrator of St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo, Etsako West Local Government Area and also the Principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School, Jattu, in the state.

He is said to have been abducted while coming out for Sunday Mass at his rectory, St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo and killed a few hours after he was abducted.

Peter Egielewa, the director of communication in the diocese, confirmed the priest’s death in a statement on Sunday.

“With heavy hearts but with total submission to the will of God, we announce the death of our priest, Mr Odia, who was killed by his abductors after being kidnapped this morning June 26, 2022, at about 6:30 a.m., in his rectory while coming out to go for Sunday Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church Ikabigbo, Uzairue, Edo State,” Mr Egielewa said.

Mr Odia’s death brings to two the number of Catholic priests killed by gunmen in the country in less than 24 hours.

The Chaplain of the Catholic community of the Kaduna State Polytechnic and chairman of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), Kaduna State Chapter, Vitus Borogo, was killed by gunmen on Saturday.

Mr Borogo, 50, was killed on his farm along Kaduna-Kachia road on Saturday after gunmen attacked the farm, this PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported.

The priest’s death was confirmed in a statement by the chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kaduna, Christian Emmanuel, who urged the people of the state to pray for the peaceful repose of his soul and for the consolation of the bereaved family.

Gunmen in the country may have turned to clerics as soft targets for their lucrative kidnap-for-ransom business perhaps because they are not accompanied by heavy security, unlike politicians.

The Methodist Prelate, Samuel Kanu-Uche, Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s chaplain, were kidnappedby gunmen last month along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in Abia State.

Members of the church reportedly paid N100 million ransom before Mr Kanu was released.