Kidnappers have reportedly killed an evangelical pastor abducted in Nigeria’s Kaduna state last month despite a ransom payment being made.
The Rev. Dauda Bature of the First Evangelical Church Winning All in the Hayin Narayi area, kidnapped on Nov. 8 from his farm in Ungwan Kanti village, was killed last week, Hausa Christians Foundation announced on Facebook on Sunday.
Rev. Joseph Hayab, the chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Morning Star News that the pastor was abducted by Fulani radicals who called ECWA church leaders on Thursday to state that Bature was killed because an additional ransom payment was not made.
The pastor’s wife had reportedly also been taken hostage when she took ransom payment to the herdsmen on Nov. 18. She was released last Monday, days before the captors said they had killed her husband.
A source told The Daily Post that the pastor’s wife was released on Dec. 6 to pressure ransom payment.
The pastor’s wife told church leaders that her husband preached Christ to his captors and prayed for their repentance, which made them angry and may have contributed to their decision to kill him, Hayab said.
Terrorists and radicals in Nigeria have kidnapped and killed thousands of people in recent years, with Islamic extremist groups displacing millions in the northeast and radicalized herders attacking thousands across farming communities in the Middle Belt.
In an earlier interview with CP, Emeka Umeagbalai of the Anambra-based International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law said kidnappings of Christians happen for various reasons.
Some terrorists, like Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province and radicalized members of the Fulani herding communities are motivated by money, while others are inspired by Islamic radicalism.
Security analysts say kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative industry in Nigeria as weapons are becoming available to militants in Nigeria thanks to war-torn Libya.
Nigeria is ranked as the No. 9 worst country globally when it comes to Christian persecution on Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List.
Nigeria was placed on the U.S. State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern” in 2020 as human rights advocates sounded alarms about the violence in that country’s Middle Belt that has led to the killings of thousands of people from predominantly Christian farming communities.
But last month, the Biden administration removed Nigeria from the list of “countries of particular concern,” drawing criticism from Christian activists and a former Trump administration official.
Although some activists have claimed that violence against Nigerian Christians has “genocidal” implications, the Nigerian government has refuted such claims.
Sam Brownback, who served as the State Department ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom during the Trump administration, told The Christian Post last week that removing Nigeria as a country of particular concern was the “wrong move.”
He argued that it is a sign that “the bureaucracy won” because it does not want the violence in Nigeria “to be seen as associated with religion in any way, shape or form.”
“There is a religious component to it, and we need to call it out,” Brownback said.
The U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern also identified the African country as one of its 2021 “Persecutors of the Year” in a report published last month.
“We are troubled by Nigeria’s omission as a CPC,” said ICC President Jeff King in a statement at the time. “The Nigerian government has done almost nothing to stop the violence against Nigerian Christians, leading to continued violent persecution. In some instances, as with Kaduna’s Governor El-Rufai, the Nigerian government has even furthered the violence.”
“Nigeria is one of the deadliest places on Earth for Christians, as 50,000 to 70,000 have been killed since 2000,” the ICC Persecutor of the Year report states.