The Reverend Lawan Andimi, a Brethren pastor in Michika, in northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, was beheaded by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram on Jan. 20 after being abducted during an attack on his village in early January.
Days after his kidnapping, the ISIS-aligned terrorists released a proof-of-life video in which Andimi called on church leaders to speak out for him and secure his release. He also praised God, telling his family and colleagues, “Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”
“I have never been discouraged, because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hand of God,” he said.
Andimi was a husband and father of eight children. He was also district leader of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and the regional representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Andimi’s denomination confirmed the pastor’s death, and according to news reports, CAN declared three days of prayer and fasting and called the slaying “gruesome, unfortunate and a shame on the federal government.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari condemned Andimi’s slaying, calling it “cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative.”
“I am greatly saddened by the fact that the terrorists went on to kill him even while giving signals of a willingness to set him free by releasing him to third parties,” Buhari tweeted. “This barbarism is condemnable. We will ensure that these terrorists pay a heavy price for their evil actions.”
He went on to say: “This incident has further strengthened our resolve as a government, and the resolve of our gallant armed forces, to comprehensively defeat all terrorist groups sowing death, violence and destruction in our country and across West Africa.”
According to Morning Star News, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, CAN’s director for legal and public affairs, said in a statement that the church did “everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so.”
The organization Save the Persecuted Christians reported that a source inside Nigeria told their leaders, “They have slaughtered him in Sambisa forest. They murdered him because he refused to renounce his faith. And, because they couldn’t raise the money for his ransom.”
Save the Persecuted Christians has urged a U.S. special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region “because of extreme violence against Christians there—and efforts are now being heightened.” It says at least 1,000 Christians were killed in 2019, with more than 5,000 killed since 2015.
The group is collecting signatures for an open letter to President Trump urging appointment of a special envoy.
Nigeria is ranked 12th on the 2020 Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.