Sokoto, Nigeria, Feb 15, 2021 / 07:19 pm MT (CNA).- One year after the burial of Michael Nnadi, an 18-year-old Nigerian seminarian abducted and killed by gunmen, the local bishop has indicated his sorrow at the lack of progress in preventing abductions and murders.
“It is quite tragic that one year later, we are still closer to nowhere we hope to be. The harvest of death has gotten richer, more and more people are dying,’ Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto said to journalists following a Feb. 12 memorial Mass.
“Things have gotten progressively worse as far as the lives of our ordinary people are concerned,” Bishop Kukah said in Sokoto’s Holy Family Cathedral.
He added, “It is a matter of great concern and great sadness that we haven’t come anywhere close to securing our people and securing our country.”
Nnadi was taken by gunmen from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna around 10:30 pm on Jan. 8, 2020, along with fellow seminarians Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; and Stephen Amos, 23. The four seminarians were at the beginning of their philosophy studies.
All but Nnadi were released by the end of January, but on Feb. 1, 2020 Bishop Kukah announced that Nnadi had been found dead.
Bishop Kukah described Michael’s death as a “message of renewal” for Africa’s most populous country.
“Amid all this trouble, we as Christians have a message of renewal that this is not where God wants our country to be,” Bishop Kukah said.
He added, “We believe in the supremacy of His will and we also believe that amid all these confusion, death, unnecessary blood-shedding, that He has a message for us, and the message is for us to urgently think about building our country.”
“There is a saying in Christianity that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity. Our religion has never triumphed because of patronage or government or because of the amounts of kingdoms that we run,” the bishop said.
In honor of the slain seminarian, the bishop’s residence has been renamed Michael Nnadi House.
The bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna have also approved the construction of a shrine at Good Shepherd Seminary in honor of Nnadi.
“In future,” Bishop Kukah said, “we hope to advance the course for Michael for him to be recognized by the Catholic Church as a martyr.”
According to the bishop, Michael’s course for sainthood should be advanced because “we have never had that kind of experience. That the people who killed him, actually came and testified that they killed Michael because he was preaching to them and telling them that what they were doing was not right.”
Mustapha Mohamed, one of Michael’s killers, said they murdered Nnadi because he “continued to preach the gospel of Christ” to his captors.
Image: Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna, Nigeria, whence four seminarians were abducted Jan. 8, 2020. Credit: Maria Lozano/Aid to the Church in Need.