Nigeria’s Cardinal Onaiyekan recalls priest’s disappearance.

Cardinal John Onaiyekan with Mercy Sister, Carol Rittner, on a visit to the USA in 2016

Agenzia Fides reported on 20 January 2017 comments made by Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, at a press conference following a mass honouring Fr. Gabriel Oyaka, a Nigerian Holy Ghost Father, abducted on 7 September 2015 in Kogi State.

While his abductors are unknown, Cardinal Onaiyekan raised concerns about the ongoing tensions between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in the region where Fr Oyaka disappeared. The Cardinal also highlighted ongoing abductions of innocent citizens, including ‘several priests’.

“This is a tragedy that has overtaken our land and the name keeps on recurring that Fulani herdsmen are behind all these killings, kidnappings and destructions of lives and property in the Country”.

Cardinal Onaiyekan described the situation as a ‘national emergency’ and called for a unified approach ‘to end this militancy’.

Cardinal Onaiyekan survived a gun attack while travelling from Benin City through Edo State in April 2016. Three gunmen fired several shots which hit the Cardinal’s car. The incident was reported in the May 2, 2016 edition of the Catholic Herald.

On that occasion Archbisop Augustine Akubueze of Benin City appealed to the Nigerian president “to provide adequate security to the people of Edo State”.

The Agenzia Fides report may be accessed here:

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