Johnpaul Aneke was recently ordained a priest and is now completing his studies in Rome. But his family is still in Nigeria.
The country is undergoing a wave of attacks from Fulani herdsmen , nomads who for years have sought to occupy grazing land for their livestock. Most are Muslims.
Johnpaul’s family is one of many who have been forced to flee northern Nigeria by his sudden violent attacks. One day, the noise of gunfire outside his house turned his family’s life upside down.
“We hid in a room and waited for the situation to calm down. From there, my mother put us all in the family car, and we headed directly to the military barracks. Unfortunately, while we were on our way, they cornered us. They stopped the car and doused it with gasoline to burn it with all of us inside ”.
In the end, the military intervened in time and rescued Johnpaul’s family . Right after they took a train to the east of the country where he says the situation is much more stable.
“Since then we have never returned to the north of the country. We gave up everything we had, everything. We take only the clothes we were wearing, just that. But I have some relatives in that area. I have been in contact with them. They say the situation is very precarious ”.
Johnpaul assures that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari , who is also from the Fulani group, has done nothing to improve the situation.
“We hope that in time the issue will be addressed. I think that the best way to approach it is to engage each party in a mutual dialogue ”.
Johnpaul also assures that several religious leaders, including the Catholic bishops of Nigeria, have intervened to help those affected by this dramatic situation that affects all people.