At the funeral Mass for Michael Nnadi, the 18-year-old seminarian abducted and killed by gunmen last month, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto said he hoped the death would be a turning point for persecuted Christians in Nigeria.
“This is a solemn moment for the body of Christ,” Kukah said in his Feb. 11 homily at Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna, where Nnadi had studied. The text of the homily was obtained through Aid to the Church in Need United States.
“This is for us the moment of decision. This is the moment that separates darkness from light, good from evil. Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids. Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is on the crossroads and its future hangs precariously in a balance. This is a wakeup call for us,” he said.
Nnadi was taken by gunmen from Good Shepherd Seminary around 10:30 pm on Jan. 8, along with fellow seminarians Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; and Stephen Amos, 23. The four seminarians were at the beginning of their philosophy studies.
The gunmen, disguised in military camouflage, broke through the fence surrounding the seminarians’ living quarters and began shooting sporadically. They stole laptops and phones before kidnapping the four young men. All but Nnadi were released by the end of January.
The exact details of Nnadi’s death are unknown, the bishop said, other than he was killed alongside a woman named Mrs. Araga. Kukah noted that for days after Nnadi’s capture, he and Nnadi’s family held out hope that he was still alive. On Feb. 1, Kukah announced that Nnadi had been found dead.
Kukah said he was inspired by Nnadi’s mother’s reaction to the terrible news.
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