Nigerian pastor and his wife gunned down on their farm
A Nigerian Christian pastor who graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in Michigan was gunned down along with his wife on Monday while working on their farm in the Taraba State of Nigeria. The couple leaves behind eight children aged from one to nineteen.
The Rev. Emmanuel Saba Bileya and his wife, Juliana, who is said to be pregnant, were killed by gunmen who have yet to be identified, according to a statement released by the Hausa Christians Foundation.
“While they were working, suddenly armed men came and opened fire on them, leading to the death of the pastor and his wife,” a spokesperson for the state police said in a statement shared by the foundation.
Bileya served as a pastor at a Christian Reformed Church in the Donga local government area. He had a Masters degree of Theology and served for the last five years at Veenstra Theological Seminary in Donga, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“In what is being noted as systematic direct war against Christianity in Nigeria, pastors, Christian leaders and seminarians are either being kidnapped or killed every week (…) Christians in Nigeria have been the target of many attacks by the vicious Boko Haram Islamist terrorists, herdsmen attacks and many other kidnappings in recent times,” the Hausa Christians Foundation statement reads.
Biyela was a doctoral student at the Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies, a nondenominational graduate school in Jacksonville, Florida. He enrolled at IWS in 2014 and was in the final stage of his doctoral programme. He took a thesis course in 2019. According to IWS, Emmanuel and Juliana will receive Christian burials on Friday.