In Nigeria, four seminarians are abducted—country risks becoming a failed state

ARMED INTRUDERS broke their way into a seminary in Nigeria and abducted four seminarians. The incident happened Jan. 8, 2020 at the Major Seminary of the Good Shepherd in the city of Kaduna in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region.

Gate of Good Shepherd Major Seminary

The kidnapped seminarians are Pius Kanwai (19), Peter Umenukor, (23), Stephen Amos (23) and Michael Nnadi (18). They come from various Catholic dioceses of northern Nigeria and had only recently begun to study for the priesthood. At this writing (Jan. 13) there has as yet been no news of them since their abduction and no information as to their whereabouts. And so far nothing is known of the identity or background of their abductors. There has been no indication that the kidnapping had a religion-based motivation; nor has there been news of a ransom demand.

The security situation across the Middle Belt region is extremely precarious, owing to the numerous attacks on mainly Christian villages by mainly Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Thousands have been killed and many thousands saw their homes destroyed. Meanwhile, in the northeast of Nigeria, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa are continuing their terror campaigns.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, the executive president of Aid to the Church in Need International, commented: “The security situation in Nigeria is appalling. Criminal gangs are further exploiting the chaotic situation and making matters still worse.” He said that the Nigerian government must take urgent action to protect the lives and property of its citizens—otherwise Nigeria would run the risk of becoming a “failed state.”

Said Heine-Geldern: “The murders and abductions remind me of the situation in Iraq before the invasion of ISIS. Already at that stage, Christians were being abducted, robbed and murdered because there was no protection by the state. This must not be allowed to happen to the Christians of Nigeria. The government must act now, before it is too late.”

Speaking of the families of the abducted seminarians, Heine-Geldern said: “They must be going through a terrible time,” he said, adding: “For years now Nigeria’s Christians have been going through hell, but their faith remains unshaken.” He called for prayers for the safe return of the seminarians.

As of Jan. 31, 2020, three of the four seminarians had been freed.  Michael Nnadi was found dead Feb. 2, 2020. For more details, click here.

—Maria Lozano