By Linda Bordoni
“Every day,” says Father Joseph Bature Fidelis, of the Diocese of Maiduguri, “Our brothers and sisters are slaughtered in the streets.”
In a dramatic appeal to the papal charity, “Aid to the Church in Need”, Father Fidelis says the situation in northern Nigeria continues to deteriorate for religious and for the faithful who are under attack by fundamentalist Islamic militants.
His latest appeal follows the abduction of four young seminarians in the city of Kaduna, in north western Nigeria.
It is the latest in a long line of attacks and murders of Christian believers there. An estimated 1000 Nigerian Christians were murdered in 2019 alone for their faith. Some 6000 of them have been killed since 2015.
In his video message Father Fidelis makes a heartfelt appeal: “I ask the government of Italy, the country where I studied, and all European governments to put pressure on our government to do something to defend us.”
Although the government of Muhammadu Buhari says it has put a number of security measures into place to protect Christians in the area, it appears incapable of guaranteeing security and preventing continuous violence and even anti-Christian massacres.
According to Father Fidelis, the support and intervention of European governments is therefore necessary: “Otherwise we risk extermination. Our people are suffering so much. Please help us not be silent in the face of this immense extermination that is taking place in silence.”
“Aid to the Church in Need” has undertaken to spread the news through the Italian media and is asking for prayers and for concrete support for the Seminaries in the country.
Aid will be destined, in particular, to the Good Shepherd Seminary in the city of Maiduguri, which currently has 53 seminarians and, as Father Fidelis says, is in an area “where one risks one’s life every day just because one is Christian.”