Fr Jude Kingsley Maduka of the Diocese Okigwe, Imo State, was reportedly kidnapped on May 19.
By Vatican News staff reporter
The Papal Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and Fides Agency have reported the kidnapping of yet another Catholic priest in Nigeria.
Fr Jude Kingsley Maduka, parish priest of the parish of Christ the King, Ezinnachi-Ugwaku, Okigwe L.G.A., in the South-Eastern Imo State, was abducted on 19 May while visiting the newly built chapel for Eucharistic adoration in the Ogii village of Okigwe, the chancellor of the Okigwe diocese said.
The latest kidnapping in a long series
The kidnapping is the latest of a long series in the populous West-African nation where abductions by bandits targeting Church personnel as well as Nigerian citizens have become a common occurrence.
According to data reported to Fides Agency by the Church in Nigeria, between 2021 and 2022, five priests were kidnapped in the diocese of Okigwe alone.
On April 15 of this year, another priest belonging to the clergy of the Okigwe diocese, Father Michael Ifeanyi Asomugha, was captured by bandits while driving on the Oriagu-Obowo highway on his way back from a diaconal ordination. He was released a few days later, thanks to his family.
ACN’s concern for ever-growing kidnappings of priests in Nigeria
In a statement released today Aid to the Church in Need, expresses “expresses strong concern for this criminal phenomenon which, it says, despite reassurances from authorities, continues to proliferate with no serious effective action to stem it.
Kidnapping has become a major menace and security challenge in Nigeria which for over ten years has also been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency, targeting churches, Christians, Muslim critics as well as State institutions.
The terrorist group aims at overthrowing Nigeria’s secular government and establishing an Islamic state. Since it was launched in 2009, more than 35,000 people have been killed in northern Nigeria and nearly 2 million have been displaced.