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Catholic Priest Shot Dead in Edo: Nigerian Christians Demand Justice from Government

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In a tragic incident, Catholic priest Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi was shot dead by gunmen in Benin City, Nigeria, raising concerns about the safety of Christians. The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 7, while the priest was on his way to his place of assignment in Benin City, the capital of Edo state. The news of the murder has prompted calls for justice and prayers for the repose of the soul of the beloved priest.

Catholic Priest Shot Dead in Edo: Nigerian Christians Demand Justice from Government
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Details of the Incident:

Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi, who was ordained in August 2022 and served as the Vice Principal of St. Michael College, Ikhueniro, fell victim to the brutal attack. Reports indicate that he was ambushed and shot along Agbor Road in the Ikhueniro axis of Benin. His lifeless body was later discovered on Boundary Street in Ikpoba Hill, under the Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area. The Catholic Archbishop of Benin City, Rev. Fr. Augustine Akubeze, confirmed the tragic incident and expressed deep sadness over the loss of the priest.

Outcry for Justice and Prayers:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Benin City promptly reported the incident to the police, urging them to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The Archbishop, in a statement, called for prayers for the peaceful repose of Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi’s soul. A mass has been scheduled at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre’s Chapel on June 9, 2023, to honor and remember the fallen priest. The Christian community, both within the archdiocese and nationwide, joins in mourning and solidarity, praying for an end to such heinous acts and for the protection of all faithful.

Increasing Insecurity Challenges in Nigeria:

The murder of Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi is part of a distressing trend of violence targeting Catholic priests and Christians across Nigeria. The Catholic Church has faced numerous attacks, with 39 priests killed and 30 abducted in 2022 alone. This tragedy reflects the wider security challenges faced by the country, including escalating incidents of kidnapping and violence. In response, President Bola Tinubu recently held a security council meeting, emphasizing the need for collaboration and a comprehensive framework to address Nigeria’s security concerns.

Christian Association of Nigeria’s Plea:

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), including representatives from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has called on President Tinubu to prioritize the security and well-being of Nigerian citizens. They highlight the urgent need for strong leadership and decisive action to address the various challenges facing the country, from security threats to economic struggles. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Diocese emphasized the importance of acknowledging the suffering of Nigerians and actively working towards healing and improvement.

Conclusion:

The tragic killing of Rev. Fr. Charles Igechi has cast a dark shadow over the Nigerian Christian community, further highlighting the concerning insecurity issues plaguing the nation. As investigations into this heinous crime continue, the call for justice grows louder, and prayers for peace and solace resonate among the faithful. The incident serves as a somber reminder of the challenges Nigeria faces and the pressing need for effective measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens.

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