Catholic seminarian was killed because he invited his abductors to have a conversation
Today, on the "Day of Prayer and Fasting in memory of the Missionary Martyrs", Fides news agency shared a testimony about the young seminarian murdered more than a year ago in Nigeria.
The discovery of the body of the eighteen-year-old Michael Nnadi was announced on the 1st of February, 2020. He the youngest of the four seminarians who, on the night of January 8th, had been kidnapped by armed men from the Major Seminary of the Good Shepherd of Kaduna in northwestern Nigeria. The other three seminarians had been released.
The murderer, Mustapha Mohammed, arrested by the police, confessed to the crime, claiming that the young seminarian “continued to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ” to his kidnappers.
Today, on the “Day of Prayer and Fasting in memory of the Missionary Martyrs”, Fides news agency shared a testimony in connection with the young man.
“On April 25, 2020, I received a phone call from Fr. Francis Agba, one of the formators of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna, who informed me that a detachment of a special team of the Nigerian Police from the Abuja Police Headquarters had just arrived there to announce the arrest of the criminals. I held my breath, shocked. The police, he said, had arrived with one of the kidnappers, Mustapha Mohammed, a twenty-six-year-old man, a member of the gang of forty-five kidnappers and bandits who robbed, kidnapped, tortured and killed many people along the road between Kaduna and Abuja, capital of Nigeria over the past four years. According to Muhammad, they had killed Michael because he kept asking them to repent and change their lives, letting go of their evil attitudes.
He said that what bothered them the most was that although Michael knew they were Muslims, he kept insisting that they had to repent and abandon their way of life. A woman Bolanle Ataga was murdered, along with Michael Nnadi, who had been kidnapped with her two daughters. According to Muhammad, Mrs. Bolanle was killed by the leader of their gang because she refused to give in to his sexual advances”.
The Bishop explains that the tragic story of Michael and Bolanle constitutes a kind of metaphor to understand the deep scars that have been left by British colonialism and by the events that have occurred throughout history, “scars that have disfigured the face of religion in Nigeria and continue to increase the tensions existing between Christians and Muslims”. Inspired by their faith, Michael and Bolanle were courageous martyrs. They were not afraid, emphasises the Bishop. For Christians who mourn them, their death is not a loss. After the blood of Jesus was shed on the ground, the seeds of our redemption were sown.
“Today Michael’s tomb stands guard and bears witness at the entrance to the Seminary, where he was a student – continues Mgr Hassan Kukah-. His colleagues can walk pass the gates knowing they have a guardian angel. Both he and Bolanle, as well as Leah Sharibu, who refused to renounce her Christian faith and remains incarcerated, constitute metaphors for the suffering Church in Africa.
Their testimony represents the spiritual oxygen that our lungs need so badly today. Together with the Ugandan martyrs, Saint Bakhita, Blessed Isidoro Bakanja, and many others marked by the scars of the tortures received because of their faith, they are bearers of promise and hope for the Church on our continent. Their example should serve as a point of reference for our young men and women in Africa”.