A priest killed by unknown gunmen in Nigeria was less than one year into his ordained ministry. The death of Fr Charles Igechi was announced “with deep sadness and sorrow in our hearts” by the Catholic Archbishop of Benin Diocese, Akubeze.
Rev. Fr. Charles Onomhoale Igechi was ordained on 13 of August 2022. According to his archbishop, he died in Benin City Edo state whilst travelling to Ikhueniro, where he was the Vice Principal of St. Michael College. Archbishop Akubeze said :
“With great shock we received the news this morning that he was shot on his way back to his place of assignment, on the 7th of June, 2023 and his remains were found by Boundary Street in Ikpoba Hill, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.”
He said “It is true he was killed. Nobody was with him when he was killed by gunmen, you would see how bullets entered his body. His body was found in by pass.”
Archbishop Akubeze said the killing had been reported to the police. He expressed hope that justice would be served on the perpetrators.
According to SB Morgan Intelligence, which calls itself Nigeria's leading geopolitical intelligence platform, thirty-nine Catholic priests were killed, while 30 were abducted across Nigeria in 2022.
In a report, they identified the killing and kidnapping of Catholic priests as part of a wider security crisis across Nigeria that has seen hundreds of people killed and kidnapped in the past year.
“The ongoing persecution of Christians in Nigeria, largely ignored by the mainstream media, has another victim, Fr. Charles Igechi,” commented Fr. Benedict Kiely, founder of Nasarean.org which advocates for persecuted Christians.
“Ordained less than a year, this brave priest and martyr has given his life for Christ. The West must respond to this carnage”, he told Premier Christian News.
A Mass for the peaceful repose of Rev. Fr. Charlies Onomhoale igechi was held today at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre’s Chapel.