Suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen in southwest Nigeria on Jan. 16 reportedly shot and killed a pastor who was also a university professor, sources said.
Amos Arijesuyo, pastor at Christ Apostolic Church and professor at the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) in Akure, Ondo state, was returning to Akure from Ibadan when herdsmen shot into his vehicle, a university spokesman said.
“His vehicle ran into an ambush laid by herdsmen who were operating on the road around 5:30 p.m.,” Adegbenro Adebanjo, university deputy director of corporate communications, said in a press statement. “The herdsmen shot sporadically at the vehicle, targeting the five occupants, and unfortunately some of the bullets hit Dr Arijesuyo and the driver.”
The driver managed to manoeuvre the vehicle away to seek medical help, he said.
“Arijesuyo succumbed to the fatal injuries from the gunshots he suffered during the hellish encounter, while the driver is recuperating at a hospital,” Adebanjo said.
Adebanjo noted that the professor also served as the university’s deputy registrar and head of the guidance and counselling unit.
“The university condemns in the strongest terms this senseless attack that has led to the untimely death of an erudite university administrator and counsellor par excellence,” he said. “Dr. Arijesuyo’s death is a big loss to FUTA, the academic community in Nigeria and beyond. It is a death that should not have happened in the first place.”
The management, staff and students at the university hope that security agencies find and prosecute the assailants, he said.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the wife, children and family members of our departed colleague at this difficult period of unquantifiable grief,” Adebanjo said. “May the good Lord grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable and painful loss and grant the deceased eternal repose.”
Joseph Ayodele, a member of the slain pastor’s congregation, told Morning Star News that Arijesuyo was an easygoing man of God.
“The pastor was a professor, born intelligent, and a passionate man of the word [of God],” Ayodele said.
Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List (WWL). In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.