Revealed! How Terrorists killed Niger Catholic priest, abducted worshippers in Katsina

Blueprint Whatsapp

The security challenges in Niger Sunday continued unabated with bandits burning Rev. Father Isaac Achi of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church, along Daza road, Kafin-Koro, Paikoro local government area of the state.

Similarly, another priest, Rev Father Collins, also came under attack during the incident, but was lucky to have survived but sustained bullet wounds. 

A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Niger state Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said the bandits attacked the residence of Achi about 3am.

He said:  “On 15/01/2023 at about 0300hrs, armed bandits invaded the Parish residence of one Rev. Father Isaac Achi of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church, along Daza road, Kafin-Koro, Paikoro LGA.”

Abiodun said the bandits set the house on fire after failing to gain entrance and the priest was consequently burnt to death.

He said police tactical teams attached to Kaffin-Koro Division were immediately drafted to the scene, but the hoodlums escaped before the arrival of the teams.

“The lifeless body of Father Isaac was recovered while Father Collins was rushed to the hospital for treatment,” the statement said.

CAN condemns act

In its reaction, the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) strongly condemned the gruesome killing.

In a statement, Sunday, the state chairman of the body, Most Rev. Bulus Dauwa Yohanna, called on government, the police and other security agencies to double their efforts in tackling banditry and the overall insecurity.

He also called for investigations into the attacks, insisting the culprits must be brought to book.

Until his death, Achi was the CAN Coordinator of Paikoro LGA, the Dean and Parish Priest of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Kaffinkoro in Minna Diocese.

Hoodlums kill monarch

In a related development, the village head of Lambata in Gurara local government area also of Niger state, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulsafur Lambata, has been brutally murdered by some hoodlums in his palace.

Blueprint learnt that other family members were injured during the attack which occurred Saturday afternoon. 

It was gathered that the monarch was first attacked at a function but escaped death by the whisker into the Divisional Police Headquarters from where his statement was obtained by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO).

However, the DPO was said to have asked the monarch to return to his palace situated not more than 500 meters from the police station.

It could not be ascertained if the DPO provided the murdered monarch adequate security or not when he returned to hi palace.

It was learnt that the hoodlums suspected to be some subjects opposed to the enthronement of the monarch, had earlier attacked him at the function, but later invaded the palace more forcefully within 20 minutes of the arrival of the monarch and killed him in the ensuing melee.

Zakari Mohammed, one of the sons of the deceased, confirmed the incident to Blueprint in Minna at the weekend, adding that two of his brothers were seriously injured in the attack.

He said: “My father was murdered by hoodlums at his palace on Saturday afternoon. He was first attacked at a place not far from the Divisional Police Headquarters in Lambata and was asked to write statement on the incident, this he did. After that the DPO asked him to go to the palace just about 500 metres away. As soon as he got home, the hoodlums invaded the palace and killed my father.”

He said many people were seriously injured during the palace attack, including his two brothers said to be receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital. 

Governor declares curfew 

Meanwhile, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has imposed curfew in Lambata town following the violent clash. 

A statement Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ahmed Ibrahim Matane said: “In view of the unfortunate incident, the State Governor has directed that curfew be imposed in Lambata Town from 6:00pm to 6:00am beginning from Sunday 15th January, 2023 till further notice.”

 Matane also said the imposition of the curfew in Lambata was to assist the security agencies in stabilising the situation in the area, save lives and enable the restoration of law and order.

 “Government has condemned in strong terms the violence and act of lawlessness that have occurred in Lambata Town,” he said.

Ransom-seeking terrorists  

But in a success story in the fight against terrorism, the Niger state Police Command killed three terrorists attempting to collect ransom on a kidnapped driver while another was killed in a separate gun battle.

The command’s image maker, DSP Abiodun, stated this at the weekend in Minna. 

He said while three of the terrorists were gunned down in Borgu local government area of the state, one was killed in a gun fight in Nasko area of Magama local government. 

He said: “Earlier on 08/01/2023 at about 1430hrs, there was a tip-off that some suspected armed bandits who had kidnapped a driver few days ago along Kuka-Babanna road, New-Bussa Borgu LGA arranged to collect ransom for the release of the driver.

“Consequently, joint tactical teams of police, military and local vigilantes mobilized and trailed the hoodlums to a nearby forest where the bandits were engaged in a gun battle. Fortunately, three among the hoodlums were neutralised while scores of them escaped with gunshot injuries.” 

He said the victim (driver) was rescued unhurt and immediately taken to a nearby hospital for medical assessment and examination, adding that effort was ongoing to arrest the fleeing suspects.

Abiodun also said as the clearance operation against banditry, kidnapping and other crimes deepened in the state, the Police tactical teams also foiled kidnap attempt in Nasko area of Magama local government of the state at the weekend. 

“It is important to reiterate that on 12/1/2023 at about 2355hrs, a distress call was received from Maje village via Nasko Magama LGA that some suspected armed bandits were making efforts to invade a residence in the village.

“Police tactical teams attached to Nasko Division were immediately mobilized to the Area and on sighting the Police teams, the hoodlums opened fire at the teams and a gun duel ensued, as a result of this, one of the bandits was neutralized and his AK-49 rifle was recovered from the scene, while others escaped into the forest with bullet injuries,” he said.

The PPRO said four others were arrested for vandalising and theft  of five inverter batteries belonging to a communication organisation. 


Also in Katsina, terrorists Sunday attacked Jan Tsuni in Gidan Haruna, of Kankara local government area of Katsina state and abducted residents going to a church in the community.

It was gathered that the abducted residents were going to the New Life For All Church, around 10:00 a.m. when the terrorists attacked the community on motorcycles and took the residents hostage.

A security agent in Kankara local government, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the incident, said five residents were taken while the pastor of the church and one other person were wounded.

“I don’t know where you got your number from, but what we’ve officially is five residents,” he said.

He said they were taken while walking to the church while the pastor was wounded as he tried to escape.

“No. It’s the same community. As they were going to church, the bandits entered the village and started picking residents,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Christian Affairs, Ishaya Jurau, confirmed the attack to Premium Times in a phone conversation but said security agents are trying to rescue the victims.

He, however, said he would not reveal the actual number of those abducted to this reporter.

“I’m in contact with some of our people on the ground. I can confirm to you that some residents were abducted while a Pastor was wounded by the terrorists this morning. The security agents are doing their best to rescue those taken,” he said.

The police spokesperson in the state, Gambo Isa, could not be reached for comment. He did not respond to calls and sms sent to him as of the time this report was filed.

Katsina, like many North-west states and a part of the North-central region, has been witnessing a series of terrorist attacks leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of others. Premium Times

 …Ekiti too

 In a related development, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, Rev. Fr. Michael Olofinlade, was reportedly abducted by gunmen.

Fr. Olofinlade, is the Parish Priest of St. George’s Catholic Church, Omu-Ekiti, in Oye local government area of Ekiti state.

The cleric was said to have been abducted Saturday evening between Itaji and Ijelu-Ekiti community while returning from Ado-Ekiti, the state capital to his base.

Reacting to the kidnap of the priest, the Owajumu of Omu Ekiti, Oba Adeyeye said security agencies and local hunters have since been mobilised to go after the abductors to rescue the catholic priest.

In his reaction, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti, Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye, in a release signed by the Diocese’s Director of Social Communications Rev. Fr. Anthony Ijasan, said the unpleasant news of the abduction Saturday, 14 January, 2023

“Fr Olatinlade is the Parish Priest of St George Catholic Church, Omu-Ekiti, in Oye Local Government Area in Ekiti State,” he said.

Bishop Ajakaye, said Fr Olofinlade went for a pastoral assignment outside the parish.

“His abduction happened while he was on his way back to the Parish at about 6.00 pm. The place where Father was abducted was between itaji-Ekiti and Ijelu-Ekiti, in the Oye Local Government Area in Ekiti State, about 4km to his parish headquarters.

“His abductors are yet to make contact with the Bishop or any other person in the Diocese,” the statement said.

“While waiting for the abductors to make contacts with the Diocese, Bishop Ajakaye, solicits your prayers for the quick and safe release of Fr Olofinlade for him to return to his pastoral duty post to continue his service to God and humanity through and in the Church.

“With confidence in God and Christ being our strength, wherever God leads us, we follow with joy,” Olofinlade added.

Related content you may like