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Nigerian Priest: Many pastors have hired security forces to protect the faithful


Fr. Valentine is a professor at the Veritas University of Nigeria in Abuja. It is an ambitious project initiated by the country's bishops. 

In addition to the academic formation offered at this university, it was founded 10 years ago with another purpose.

FR. VALENTINE ONWUNJIOGU
Catholic University of Nigeria

“The bishops thought it was wise to establish and invest in forming students academically. However, at the same time, provide moral and character formation. This is so the youth will be more ready to provide a service to society.”

Nigeria is ranked 148 out of 180 nations in Transparency International's latest Corruption Perception Index. It is corruption that hinders the development of a country rich in raw materials – such as oil- and nearly 23 million young people are in search of jobs. Additionally, violence also affects these places, inflicted by groups such as Boko Haram and the Fulani tribe. Fr. Valentine says this university has suffered from these attacks. 

FR. VALENTINE ONWUNJIOGU
Catholic University of Nigeria

“The Vice-Chancellor and myself, were forced to call a security company to go and drive them away because we couldn't go. We couldn't get them to drive them away from the territory of the university.” “They have been involved in so many killings. They often do this when they see you are not Muslims like them and are Christian; or when you try to tell them they do not have right into your own territory.”

For this reason, the university's priority is to protect the lives of its students. At the moment, the institution is seeking funds to help build a fence around its campus to prevent further attacks. The local parishes are also adopting security measures.

FR. VALENTINE ONWUNJIOGU
Catholic University of Nigeria

“So many priests now employ the services of security people, agencies to ensure that the faithful, when they come to Sunday worship, they are at least, to a great extent, protected.”

“In that desperate situation the faith is still very strong. However, it doesn't deny the fact that so many people are really living on that fear, in practicing their faith.” 

In addition to the Fulani tribe, Boko Haram is still very active in Nigeria. This is despite the fact the government has decreed they are “technically defeated.” This terrorist group also operates in neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and recently Niger.