LAGOS, Nigeria — Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of Yola has condemned the execution of a Christian pastor who had pleaded for his life in a video just days earlier.
The church could not afford the $2.2 million demanded by the Islamic militants before the Jan. 20 beheading of the Rev. Lawan Andimi, Mamza told a news conference in Yola.
Andimi was abducted in early January when insurgents attacked the Michika local government area, where he was the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
“The insurgents established contact with the church, and there was a conversation. And then they stopped and went ahead to kill him,” said Mamza, who chairs the association in northeastern Nigeria’s Adamawa state.
“I think they already had intentions to execute him. That was the plan and nothing would have stopped that,” he said.
Mamza urged Nigeria’s federal and state governments to increase their efforts to protect citizens’ lives and bring an end to terrorism in the country.
Boko Haram or a breakaway faction that has ties to the Islamic State group followed up Andimi’s killing with an attack on his hometown in the Chibok local government area in Borno state.
Mamza said Christian leaders are being targeted, noting that another church leader was killed on the same day as Andimi. The Rev. Dennis Bagauri was shot and killed when insurgents tried to abduct him at his home on the Lutheran church site in Adamawa state, the bishop said.
The Rev. Samson Ayokunle, national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said in a statement, “We are almost losing hope in the government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians, who have become endangered species under its watch.”
The association urged the international community to “come to the aid of Nigeria, especially the Nigerian church, so that we might not be eliminated, one by one.”
Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesn’t come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux by giving a small amount monthly, or with a onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.