Nigeria diocese orders immediate closure of Catholic school after attack

Nigeria Credit: Shutterstock

The Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria has ordered the “immediate” closure of Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School for the safety of students and staff after an attack on the institution.

In the late hours of Tuesday, May 7, gunmen allegedly gained access to the school, “shooting indiscriminately while the learners were asleep,” the director of social communications for the Makurdi Diocese, Father Moses Iorapuu, said in a Wednesday, May 8 statement.

Were it not “for the professional handling of the situation by the principal and a team of civil defense officers who repelled the attack, the situation would have been catastrophic,” Iorapuu continued, adding that “one of the heroic officers was shot and is receiving treatment.”

Iorapuu confirmed the closure and explained that the halting of all activities at the school is aimed at preventing “unimaginable disaster” as authorities investigate the attack. 

“Following the attacks on Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School by unidentified gunmen, the Diocese of Makurdi ordered the immediate suspension of activities at the school to protect the lives of students,” Iorapuu said. “The decision to suspend activities was a preemptive measure to ensure the safety of our children and avoid what could have been an unimaginable disaster.” 

In a meeting that the local ordinary of the Makurdi Diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, convened, “his consultors, the education team, and the management of the Via Christi Society unanimously agreed that the lives of the children should be considered above any other consideration in this case,” Iorapuu explained in his statement.

Iorapuu confirmed the safety of the school’s principal, Father Emmanuel Ogwuche, as well as the students, and added: “We also appreciate the professionalism of the civil defense officers who provide security at the school. These unidentified gunmen tried to raise the ante in their attacks’ strategies on the state, from villagers, farmers, worshippers to students.”

Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School is located along Welfare Quarters at Utuur Layout Phase 3 Makurdi, which is Nigeria’s Benue State capital.

“This part of the town has become notorious for killings and kidnappings by suspected herdsmen,” Iorapuu said.

The diocese has directed priests “and those in pastoral units to tighten security around their premises and appeal to relevant authorities to ensure the safety of life and property of the citizens,” the statement 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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