The kidnappers shot the parish security guard, who died on the way to the hospital.

In his June 20 statement, Klaver appealed for prayers for the soul of the late security guard and for the complete healing of Nwaohuocha.

“Let us pray for the full recovery of his health and for the repose of the soul of the deceased, who leaves [behind] a family [wife and children],” he said.

The kidnapping and release of Nwaohuocha is the latest in a series of abductions that have targeted members of the clergy, seminarians, and other Christians in Africa’s most populous nation.

On June 11, Father Jeremiah Yakubu, a priest of Kafanchan Diocese, was kidnapped and later released. On June 7, Father Charles Onomhoale Igechi, a member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Benin City who was set to mark his first anniversary as a priest on Aug. 13, was shot dead while returning from pastoral duties. On June 2, Father Stanislaus Mbamara, a priest ministering in Nigeria’s Nnewi Diocese, was kidnapped and later set free.

Officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria have urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was sworn in on May 29, to prioritise the security concerns and the economic struggles of the people of God in the West African nation.

“Nigeria is facing a number of challenges that require strong and decisive leadership. From security concerns to economic struggles, it is clear that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria can reach its full potential,” Rev. Daniel Okoh said May 29.

On May 27, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese called upon the new president of Nigeria to identify what is behind the “scars, wounds and injuries” of Nigerians, even as he prioritises their healing.

(Catholic News Agency; Picture Courtesy: OMI)