Following the death of an 18-year-old seminarian in Nigeria at the hands of his kidnappers, the Archbishop of Lagos urged government officials to make changes to security measures.
“I received with great sadness the news of the murder of the fourth seminarian, Mr. Michael Nnadi who was kidnapped recently in Kaduna. This was a young man who abandoned all with the desire to serve His creator and humanity, now murdered for no just cause,” Archbishop Alfred Martins said Feb. 3.
“This is just one of several cases of innocent Nigerians being killed on daily basis by gun men while our security services and their chiefs watch as if they were helpless,” he added.
“This appalling situation must come to an end. We cannot just fold our arms and allow these monstrous activities to continue to thrive. The consequences of the dastardly acts on the psyche of Nigerians can only be imagined. The Federal Government must act now before things get out of hand,” he said.
“For a while now, many Nigerians from different walks of life have been calling for a revamping of the security arrangements in the nation even if it means the replacement of the Heads of the various Security Agencies in order to give room for new ideas,” the archbishop stated.
“It is beyond doubt that the gains of the past few years are being lost because those at the helm of affairs and the soldiers in the thick of the war are tired and need to be replaced. The strategy for executing the war needs to be reexamined to determine its effectiveness.”
Nnadi was one of four seminarians kidnapped last month in northwestern Nigeria. The other three were released, but Nnadi’s death was announced Feb. 1.
Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; Stephen Amos, 23; and Michael Nnadi, 18, were taken from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna, around 10:30 pm on Jan. 8 by gunmen.
Nearly 270 seminarians live at Good Shepherd.
Good Shepherd Seminary is located just off the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria Express Way. According to AFP, the area is “notorious for criminal gangs kidnapping travelers for ransom.”
Schoolgirls and staff from a boarding school located near the same highway were kidnapped in October, and were later released.
Nnadi was killed along with another abductee, the wife of a doctor.
Kanwai, Umenukor, and Amos were all released by their captors.
“The security situation in Nigeria is appalling”, Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of ACN International, said Jan. 13. “Criminal gangs are further exploiting the chaotic situation and making matters still worse.”
He compared the situation in Nigeria to that of Iraq prior to the Islamic State's invasion: “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.”
Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent months, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.