Seasons Greatings!

Catholic Diocese of Makurdi




FEBRUARY 8, 2024


Good Morning and thank you for allowing me this opportunity to bear witness to the dire situation of persecution that your brothers and sisters in Nigeria are enduring daily.

We have been looking for ways to bring this to the attention of the international community and I am grateful to start with our own Church.  Thank you for inviting me and thanks to Aid to the Church in Need for making this possible. 

I am from the Makurdi diocese of Benue state in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. The violent persecution and numerous massacres in my diocese have increased exponentially since I was appointed as Bishop and continue to do so.

In Benue, we have 6 million inhabitants 99% of which are Christian, 80% of them are Catholic. They are mainly farmers living on ancestral farmland. At this time, more than 2,225,000 (two million two hundred and twenty-five thousand) have been brutally driven off their own land and now live in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps, in makeshift shanties that are unfit for animals, let alone human beings. 




What is occurring right now in my own state and elsewhere in Nigeria is an organized, systematic, and brutal attacks by militant Fulani herdsman killing countless innocent men women and children and displacing millions from their ancestral homes.

 Unable to fend for themselves and relying only on free-will donations. In most communities, children of school age are displaced forcing them to drop out while the livelihoods of their parents or caregivers completely destroyed.” Such conditions make children increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking, child labor, and organ harvesting.

Every day this population of widows and orphans grows, creating a new generation of traumatized and uneducated Nigerians, who will have few options for their future.


The living conditions is these camps is inhumane and would be seen as unfit for animals.  As I visit the camps where they are living in these subhuman conditions, under such brutal suffering, I am at a loss.  I don’t know what to preach and it is difficult to console them, to support them.



They have especially targeted our Catholic churches and religious as well.  Last week, on February 3rd, Father Kenneth Kanwa and Father Jude Nwachukwu, two priests from my religious order of Claretian missionaries were kidnapped.  Indeed, every time a religious is kidnapped, it has the same effect as a terrorist attack because the villagers flee after losing their leader.  Between 2021 and 2023 over 100 religious sisters and priests were kidnapped in Nigeria, some never returned even after high ransoms were paid for their release.

I ask you; how many imams have been kidnapped? How many mosques have been destroyed?

The Militant Islamists attack most especially on our holiest feast days. This past Christmas, a large-scale massacre of over 200 Christians and hundreds more injured took place during a simultaneous attack to more than 20 villages in the Plateau State, north of Benue.

I share this with you so that the world may know that in spite of all of this, Nigerian seminaries and churches are full.  Christian faith is growing in spite of the terrorists, or maybe because of them. As my brother bishop Kukah, of Sokoto, said “Nigeria has become a killing field”, a field that is sadly fertile with the blood of its martyrs.

I want to thank you for listening to me, and to ask you to never forget your brothers and sisters in Nigeria. We pray for you.