Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Kidnapped Methodist Church leader in Nigeria freed - Open Doors UK & Ireland
31 May 2022

Kidnapped Methodist Church leader in Nigeria freed

Samuel Kanu, the head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, has been freed - praise God - after he was kidnapped along with two other priests last weekend. His is the latest in a series of attacks and kidnappings in the area. Please keep praying for our persecuted Nigerian church family.

Embed from Getty Images

The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Samuel Kanu (pictured above), along with two other clerics have been freed after they were kidnapped at the weekend – praise God! 

The attacks occurred on Saturday and Sunday (28-29 May) in Abia state, south east Nigeria. Currently it is unknown who was responsible – and it is unclear how they were freed.

Their release has led to much celebration among Christians in the area. But this attack points to an increasing trend sweeping across the country.

“This is the latest in a series of kidnappings which have become an epidemic in Nigeria,” says Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ Senior Analyst on Freedom of Religion and Belief in sub-Saharan Africa. “The issue of security is the central issue for Nigerians. People from all walks of life, from army officers to young children, can be abducted.   

“Sometimes it appears we have been abandoned to the mercy of the jihadists.”Bishop Anagbe of Makurdi, Benue State

“Ahead of elections in February next year, political candidates are putting security at the top of their agendas. Because of widespread poverty, extremist groups are making the most of the lucrative business in kidnappings, demanding ransom payments as a shortcut for easy money.” 

Two priests and worshippers taken by armed men 

This is far from an isolated incident in Nigeria. Last Wednesday, armed men kidnapped priests and some worshippers from a parish in Gidan Maikambo, in the Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State.  

“As at midnight of today, 25 May 2022, gunmen broke into the rectory,” reported Rev. Fr Christopher Omotosho, director of social communications for the diocese. “The parish priest and his assistant, Rev. Frs Stephen Ojapa and Oliver Okpara, and two boys in the house were kidnapped. No information [is known] as to their whereabouts. Kindly pray for their safety and release.”  

The continued abduction of Christians – and others – in areas of northern Nigeria is causing untold suffering. 

Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of Makurdi, Benue State, issued a statement on 20 May questioning why the Nigerian government continued to remain silent amid persistent attacks in the West African nation. 

Anagbe said that widespread terrorism by Islamist Fulani militants in Benue State had made it nearly impossible to conduct pastoral visits in the area. The bishop decried the silence of the international community amid the suffering of Christians in Nigeria. “Sadly, we continue to draw the attention of the outside world to the plan by Islamist [extremists] to Islamise Christian territories countless times with little or no attention paid to our cry and call for help,” he said. “Sometimes it appears we have been abandoned to the mercy of the jihadists.” 

Nigerian believers receive trauma care, thanks to you 

Christians continue to be attacked indiscriminately and brutally in Nigeria, especially in the north, and Nigeria's rank on the Open Doors World Watch List has risen accordingly by two places to number 5. Your prayers and gifts mean that Open Doors partners can continue to strengthen persecuted believers with trauma care, discipleship and persecution survival training and economic empowerment projects. 

Please pray
  • For the safe return of all those have been kidnapped, and for God’s comfort and peace for their families
  • That the Nigerian government will be spurred into action and will act with urgency, wisdom and compassion
  • That God will bring an end to the epidemic of violence and kidnapping in northern Nigeria.
Please give
  • Every £24 could train a church leader to better disciple their church community

  • Every £35 could help empower a West African church to give persecuted believers emergency shelter and food

  • Every £45 could help equip a church member to provide trauma care to believers in their community

Give today

Share this story

Get involved

Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.