Nigerian seminarian calls for ‘prayer backed up with action’ to counter violence

Nigerian Christians displaced from their homes by Boko Haram attacks. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Maiduguri.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 19, 2021 / 10:41 am (CNA).

Religious persecution is rampant in Nigeria, where militant groups such as Boko Haram carry out abductions that appear to target Christians, including priests. Sometimes clergy aren’t just kidnapped. They’re also killed. 

Brother George Agwu Liwhuliwhe, a Nigerian who is studying for the priesthood in the U.S., emphasized the “really sad situation.” The Josephite seminarian spoke with EWTN News In Depth in a segment that aired July 9.

He implored U.S. Catholics to focus on the plight of Nigeria and to “be aware of what is happening over there.”

“Prayer will be helpful, but prayer backed up with action,” he added. Among other things, he encouraged the government in Nigeria to provide more jobs to preoccupy those who might otherwise participate in crime.

Earlier this month, gunmen kidnapped around 120 children from a Baptist high school located in the northwest part of the country. In the same region last month, an archbishop presided over a murdered priest’s funeral.

Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso of Kaduna stressed at the time, “We are here to pray for the repentance and conversion of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.”

One Nigerian human-rights organization, Intersociety, estimates that Islamist insurgents have killed an estimated 12,000 Christians in Nigeria since June 2015.

In response to the violence, Nigeria’s Catholic bishops have urged the government to act. 

In February, the Nigerian bishops’ conference declared, “Insecurity, clearly evident in widespread loss of lives and property, has left the impression that the country’s leaders are either unable – or worse still, unwilling – to take up the responsibilities of their office.”

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