Criminals burnt alive Rev. Fr, Isaac Achi, of Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church, in Kafin Koro Community, Niger State in the early hours of Sunday.
The community located in Paikoro Local Government Area of the Niger State was reportedly invaded by the criminals locally known as ‘bandits’, around 1 am, just a few hours before Sunday Mass.
According to a statement by the Police spokesperson in the state, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, the gunmen attempted to gain access to the priest’s residence at about 3 am but faced difficulties which made them resort to razing down the house, while Rev. Fr Achi was still inside.
Abiodun also stated that a colleague of the Rev. Father, identified as Fr Collins, was equally shot in the shoulder while trying to escape from the scene.
He said that teams of operatives attached to the Kaffin-Koro Police Division were immediately dispatched to the scene, but the criminals had escaped before their arrival.
He said the lifeless body of Achi was recovered, while Rev. Fr. Collins was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
“The lifeless body of Father Isaac was recovered while Father Collins was rushed to the hospital for treatment,” a Police spokesperson stated.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Sunday, criticised the attack and other terrorist attacks in the North. A statemnt signed by Daniel Atori, media aide to the Niger State CAN chairman, Most Rev. Bulus Yohanna, demanded swift investigation, just as it called on all government at all levels to double efforts in tackling banditry and insecurity.
“One of the primary responsibilities of any government is to protect lives and properties of the people; enough of the attacks and wanton killings of innocent Nigeria citizens,” CAN said.
Apart from Boko Haram and ISWAP attacks, Niger and some other states in the northern region have been facing terror orchestrated by bandits, who attack at will, ransacking villages, kidnapping and killing scores of innocent and defenceless citizens.
Over 30 persons were recently abducted at a train station in Igueben Edo State. While some of the victims have been rescued in a sting operation, the abductors have reportedly made contacts with some of the affected families to demand a N20 million ransom on each of the abductees.
Police confirmed that at least one of its officers died during the rescue operation in Edo, though official statement from Edo State Command insisted that no one shot the dead officer.
Nigeria has been witnessing escalating security at a much higher frequency as country prepares for critical general elections from February 25 to elect a new president to take over from the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, and other political leaders across the country.
Various presidential candidates have promised to tackle insecurity ravaging the West African nation if elected.
While some of the candidates called for restructuring of the system to allow creation of State Police alongside the existing central police structure, others propose better motivation for existing security personnel and tacking poverty and exclusion as well as addressing unemployment. Nigeria’s unemployment rate is nearing 40 per cent.