Monk killed after kidnapping from Nigerian monastery eulogized as prayerful, easygoing

crucifix Credit: Emiliano Arruabarrena/Cathopic

Tributes are pouring in for Brother Godwin Eze, a Nigerian monk who was kidnapped by Fulani bandits and brutally killed, with those who knew the monk describing him as “very prayerful” and “very easygoing young man.”

Eze, a Benedictine novice, was kidnapped Oct. 17 alongside Brother Anthony Eze and Brother Peter Olarewaju from the Benedictine monastery in Eruku, Nigeria, located in the Diocese of Ilorin.

While Anthony Eze and Olarewaju were set free on Oct. 21, Godwin Eze, 31, was shot and his body thrown into a river on Oct. 18, a day after his kidnapping.

In a Tuesday, Oct. 24, interview with ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, Father Joseph Ekesiobi, a former novice director at the Nigerian Benedictine monastery, confirmed the news of the murder of Eze, whom he described as “very jovial.”

“Brother Godwin lived a contemplative life. I remember him as a very easygoing young man. He was very jovial and very prayerful,” Ekesiobi said.

The priest said that Eze and his companions were abducted at about 1 a.m. as they slept in the novitiate block at the monastery.

“The Fulani bandits came armed. They broke through the iron doors of the novitiate block where about 12 of our brothers, including novices and postulants, were sleeping. They took the three and went with them in the middle of the night,” Ekesiobi said.

Anthony Eze and Olarewaju are postulants at the monastery.

In the interview with ACI Africa, Ekesiobi recounted the experiences of the three following their abduction: “They were forced to walk barefoot. They said that on the way, and throughout their captivity, they were beaten using machetes. Their abductors wanted money.”

He said that the two Benedictine postulants who were set free are recovering in a hospital.

Meanwhile, a search has commenced to retrieve the body of Godwin Eze from the river where his captors threw it.

Ekesiobi also told ACI Africa that the monastery has been forced to implement drastic measures following the Oct. 17 attack and kidnapping.

“We have had to relocate our brothers to a safer place since we continue to receive threats of more attacks,” he said.

This story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by CNA.

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