An archbishop serving in Northern Nigeria has revealed he lives with police dogs and armed escorts among rapidly escalating attacks on Christians in the region.
Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna works in one of the Church’s most dangerous dioceses.
In the last three years, eight of his priests have been kidnapped. One remains missing, and three have been killed.
Nigeria is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian, as targeted attacks from Islamist terrorist groups are on the rise.
More Christians are killed in the nation every year than anywhere else in the world combined.
Between 2021 and 2022, 7,600 Nigerian Christians were killed by terrorist groups, and 5,200 abducted, according to findings by Aid to the Church in Need.
As a result of the ongoing attacks, Archbishop Matthew now keeps police dogs in his home.
He carefully weighs up the risks of travelling before setting off on any journey – and even then, it’s never without armed escorts.
He said: “We often pass by vehicles on the road which have been attacked, and it is a reminder that it could happen to us at any moment.”
“Faith doesn’t fall from the sky,” he continued. It needs ministers, but we know that we run risks whenever we send somebody somewhere.
“We are returning to the first days of the Church.”