By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
ABUJA, NIGERIA (ANS, July 13, 2016) — A preacher was hacked to death in the early hours of July 9 near Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
World Watch Monitor (www.worldwatchmonitor.org) reports that Eunice Elisha, a mother of seven, had gone out to preach as was usual, her husband, Olawale Elisha, a Redeemed Church of God Pastor, told local media.
Later, two of their sons, who had been practicing football, heard that a woman had been killed while preaching.
“I told my children that it couldn’t be their mother, but they insisted we should go there and check,” Elisha said . “When we got there, we didn’t see anybody, they had even covered her blood with sand.”
World Watch Monitor said a police officer confirmed a killing had taken place and that the body had been taken to a police station in Kubwa, on the outskirts of Abuja.
“At the entrance of the station I saw a pickup van coming out,” Elisha said. “Inside it I saw the lifeless body of my wife at the back of the pickup van. At this point, my children and I burst into tears.”
Eunice Elisha was 42. Her surviving husband called her a zealous Christian who “rarely missed a day in church.”
Asked how he felt about the murder of his wife and her killers, Olawale said: “I see her as a martyr who died for Christ. Whether the people are caught or not, they should be forgiven.”
Police have arrested six suspects, and an investigation continues, World Watch Monitor reported.
Elisha is only the most recent of several attacks on Christians in recent weeks, the news outlet stated.
On June 30, in the town of Obi, in the central state of Nasarawa: father of seven, Rev. Joseph Kurah, was ambushed by two armed men after he arrived at his farm. His severely mutilated body was later recovered from the scene. Ethnic Fulani herdsmen are suspected in the killing.
On June 8, in Kaduna state, Francis Emmanuel, a 41-year-old carpenter, was waiting for food when a gang of six Muslim youths stabbed him. It was Ramadan, and he was not fasting.
“They asked why I was eating,” Emmanuel told World Watch Monitor. “At first I didn’t reply, but when they asked if I was a Christian or a Muslim, I said I was a Christian. They got furious and started beating me up. One of them brought out a knife and stabbed me in my neck, on my right arm and around my right eye. A police officer rushed over to help me, and the assailants all ran away.”
In Kano, northern Nigeria on June 2, Bridget Agbahime, 74, wife of Mike Agbahime, pastor of Deeper Life Bible Church in Kano, was ambushed by an angry mob for allegedly blaspheming against Islam’s prophet. Hers was the second extrajudicial killing after an accusation of blasphemy in recent weeks.
On May 30, in Niger state: Methodus Chimaije Emmanuel, 24, was attacked and killed by a mob, after allegedly posting a blasphemous statement about Muhammad on social media. Three other people, including a police officer, lost their lives as a result of violence that followed the killing. A church and a house were burnt down and 25 shops were looted.
World Watch Monitor, quoting Atta Barkindo, a researcher and doctoral candidate at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, explained that incidents targeting Christians are the result of growing intolerance and radicalism among Nigerian society. For a very long time, the focus has been on the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east, Bakindo said.
As well as Boko Haram there are other extremist groups, the news outlet stated.
“But apart from Boko Haram, there are a number of extremist Islamic groups, such as Aljana Tabas in Gombe, Madinatoul Keffi in Nasarawa or Al Kour Aniyoun in Bauchi. All these states are very close to Abuja, the capital.”
World Watch Monitor , quoting Bakindo, says they recruit from a large pool of uneducated young people migrating toward central Nigeria from the northern cities of Kano and Sokoto in the north, and they operate with little fear of punishment.
“The government has done nothing in the past. People feel they can commit these kind of killings and propagate Islam, and the government can’t do anything about it,” he said.
Bakindo stated:”So the main issues here are impunity and the lack of accountability. Look at what happened in Kano, Nasarawa and Niger States. But by the end of the day, you will hear nothing, and the attackers will be set free. Impunity is a big issue in Nigeria.”
Photo Captions: Mother of seven, Eunice Elisha, was murdered close to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja (World Watch Monitor). 2) Map showing Nigerian states (World Watch Monitor. 3) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. To help partner with Michael in ministry, log-on to: https://ACTINTL.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael.
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