Armed men abducted Father Nicholas Oboh on Feb. 14 in a southwestern region of Nigeria
In addition to the phenomenon of kidnapping of priests and consecrated persons, there are recurrent attacks in Boko Haram, particularly in northern Nigeria. (Photo by LUIS TATO/AFP)
“I am happy to report that our priest who was kidnapped last week, Rev. Father Nicolas Oboh, has regained his freedom,” the Diocese of Uromi, Nigeria, said Feb. 18 in a message sent out on Whatsapp.
Father Oboh was abducted by armed men in Edo State, in the southwestern region of the country, on Feb. 14.
However, there has been no news of the four children that the Nigerian press said were abducted at the same time as the young priest.
The phenomenon of abduction of religious and lay people in Nigeria has been a matter of concern for some years. In 2019 alone, at least nine priests were abducted in Enugu State in the south-eastern part of the country.
In addition to the phenomenon of kidnapping of priests and consecrated persons, there are recurrent attacks in Boko Haram, particularly in the north of the country.
Additionally, the conflict between Fulani herders (mostly Muslim) and farmers (mostly Christian) has claimed many lives in the center of the country.
More and more voices are being raised in the country denouncing the targeted attacks on Christians.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) sounded the alarm at the end of January after the assassination of one of its pastors, Lawan Andimi.
“The Church considers the abduction, extortion and relentless killing of innocent Christians and Nigerians to be a disgrace to the government, which boasts of having defeated the insurgency every time,” the association said in a statement.
“It is reprehensible and sad that every time the government claims to have defeated the insurgency, more murders are committed,” it added.
President Buhari’s inaction castigated
The Nigerian Catholic Church has regularly condemned President Muhammadu Buhari for his inaction on the security issue.
It even asked him twice in 2018 to resign.
The Church is not alone. More and more people are adding their voices to denounce anti-Christian attacks.
In a statement published on Jan. 13, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria accused the Nigerian president of taking “lightly” the “coordinated attacks against Christians”.
The association also plans to petition to Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump to force Buhari to put an end to anti-Christian attacks.