Nigerian priest shot dead on Christmas Eve

The flag of Nigeria on a military uniform The flag of Nigeria on a military uniform. | Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.

Fr. Luke Mewhenu Adeleke, a priest of the Diocese of Abeokuta, was shot dead Friday while returning home after celebrating Mass.

He was shot in his car by unknown gunmen Dec. 24 in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, after saying Mass in Ogunmakin, about 50 miles east of Abeokuta, in Nigeria’s Ogun State.

Fr. Adeleke, who was in his late 30s, had been ordained a priest in 2017.

His body will be buried Dec. 31 after a Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Abeokuta.

The murder and kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent years, 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.

Fulani herders, most of whom are Muslim, have had increasing conflict with largely Christian farmers over limited natural resources in the country’s Middle Belt in recent years, and the radical Islamist group Boko Haram continues to threaten safety in Nigeria's north. There has generally been lless violence in the south of the country, including Ogun State. 

Another priest of the Abeokuta diocese was kidnapped briefly in November 2018.

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