Monk Shot, Body Thrown in River Following Kidnapping at Nigerian Monastery

Father Joseph Ekesioba, a former novice director at the monastery, said that Brother Godwin Eze was shot by Fulani bandits a day after the kidnapping.

Shadow of a crucifix.
Shadow of a crucifix. (photo: Cathopic )

A diocese in Nigeria announced that Brother Godwin Eze, a monk who was kidnapped on Oct. 17 alongside two others from the Benedictine monastery in Eruku, was murdered.

In a note shared with ACI Africa on Tuesday, Oct. 24, the administrator of the Diocese of Ilorin, Father Anselm Pendo Lawani, said Eze, who was kidnapped alongside Brother Anthony Eze and Brother Peter Olarewaju, had been brutally murdered.

Other sources said the abductors shot Brother Godwin Eze and threw his body in a river.

Earlier, the diocese had announced the release of Brother Anthony Eze and Olarewaju, who are postulants at the Benedictine monastery, and appealed for prayers for Brother Godwin Eze, a novice at the monastery.

In the Oct. 24 note, Father Lawani said: “This is to thank all and sundry for your collective prayers over the past several days for the safe release of our brothers, Brother Anthony Eze and Brother Peter Olarewaju. We thank God for answering our prayers.”

“However, we are saddened by the news of the gruesome murder of the third brother, Godwin Eze, in the hands of the kidnappers. May God grant eternal rest to his soul, consolation to his immediate family members and to all of us who are left to mourn his passing,” he continued.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Father Joseph Ekesioba, a former novice director at the monastery, said that Brother Godwin Eze was shot by Fulani bandits a day after the kidnapping.

“I have been sharing with one of our brothers who was released and he said that Godwin was shot on Wednesday [Oct. 18] at night. The abductors took our three brothers to the bank of a river and shot Brother Godwin. They then threw his lifeless body in the river,” Father Ekesioba said in an Oct. 24 interview.

He added: “After killing Godwin, the kidnappers led brothers Peter and Anthony to the forest where they had been hiding them and continued to threaten them, telling them that they too would be killed. Luckily, the two were set free on Saturday evening [Oct. 21].”

Father Ekesioba said that the monastery was organizing a search to retrieve the body of Brother Godwin Eze from the river.

He told ACI Africa that the monastery had been forced to implement drastic measures following the Oct. 17 kidnapping.

“We have had to relocate our brothers to a safer place since we continue to receive threats of attacks,” he said.

The Diocese of Ilorin serves Kwara state, which is bordered to the east by Kogi state, to the north by Niger state, and to the south by Ekiti, Osun, and Oyo states. 

Some of these Nigerian states, including Kogi and Niger, continue to witness attacks reportedly perpetrated by armed Fulani herdsmen and other bandits. 

A report by Intersociety in April indicated that more than 150 people had been slaughtered in Christian parts of Niger state in 100 days alone and that of the 707 Christians who had been abducted in the same period, 200 abductions were carried out in Niger.