Just two weeks after a kidnapped seminarian was killed in Nigeria, a Catholic priest in the country was abducted.
Fr. Nicholas Oboh of the Diocese of Uromi reportedly was abducted by gunmen in the southwestern state of Edo, ACI Africa reported.
The chancellor of the diocese, Fr. Osi Odenore, told reporters Friday, “We are sure that he is alive, and since the incident, steps have been taken to ensure that Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oboh is released without any harm.”
The diocese confirmed those reports in an email Saturday.
Local news outlets have also reported that several children were kidnapped at the same time, said ACI, an affiliate of Catholic News Agency.
“Speaking to reporters, and on Facebook, Fr. Odenore has said that the diocese is now working to secure Oboh’s release. The chancellor also urged prayer for the priest’s release,” the wire service said.
Nigeria has been plagued by kidnapping, and religious figures have not been immune. In late January, 18-year-old seminarian Michael Nnadi was killed by gunmen who had abducted him and three other seminarians from their their school in Kaduna. The other three seminarians were released.
At Nnadi’s funeral Feb. 11, Matthew Kukah, the bishop of Sokoto, spoke of a “penetrating darkness that hovers over our country.”
“Christians must rise up and defend their faith with all the moral weapons they have,” Bishop Kukah told a congregation that included the seminarian’s family. “We must become more robust in presenting the values of Christianity especially our message of love and non-violence to a violent society. Among the wolves of the world, we must become more politically alert, wise as the serpent and humble as the dove.”
Kukah said that anger is “a legitimate inheritance of the condition of unredeemed human being,” but ultimately fruitless.
“Through Violence, you can murder the murderer, but you cannot murder Murder,” he said. “Through violence, you can kill the Liar, but you cannot kill Lies or install truth. Through Violence, you can murder the Terrorist, but you cannot end Terrorism. Through Violence, you can murder the Violent, but you cannot end Violence. Through Violence, you can murder the Hater, but you cannot end Hatred.”