ACI Africa, Nov 3, 2023 / 14:15 pm
A lack of security is impoverishing the Church in Nigeria, the bishop of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese said this week, noting that in the northern part of the country alone, more than 30 million naira (about $37,200) has been spent to rescue Church personnel.
Most of the money has been spent rescuing priests, seminarians, and other pastoral caregivers who were kidnapped by various militia groups in the region, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said in a Tuesday, Oct. 31, interview with ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa.
“Many things have happened to us in Sokoto. We have had our churches burnt down, the killing of Deborah Emmanuel [a Nigerian Christian student who was murdered by a Muslim mob], our cathedral was almost burnt down, and my priests were almost killed,” Kukah said. “I have lost a seminarian, I’ve lost a priest; we have spent over 30 million naira, which we don’t have, to rescue our pastoral agents from kidnappers.”
The vocal bishop lamented the lack of support to cope with the situation in the embattled region, saying: “I cannot remember anybody from some part of Nigeria calling me to say ‘Bishop, we heard what has happened to you. What can we do, is there any way we can help, are you safe?’”