I write to draw the attention of the Governor of Benue State, Gov. Samuel Ortom, the Benue State Commissioner of Police, the Special Adviser to the governor on security, the Tor Lobi, the Bishop of Katsina Ala Catholic Diocese, the Commander, Military Task Force in Benue State, the general public and to all for the life of Very Rev. Fr Richard Orhungur Iyaghigba, a catholic priest serving at St Gabriel’s Quasi Parish Tsav-Num in Saghev, Nongov, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.

Fr Iyaghigba was posted to St Gabriels Quasi Parish by his bishop on the 11th August 2018. On arrival, he interacted with his parishioners, the late District Head of Saghev, Tyoor Uwouku Abanka, his Kindred Heads, the Women and the Youths of the area to brainstorm and fashion out a way forward for progress and development. This was at the backdrop of the incessant stealing, killings, arson and other social vices that were going on in the place. He sought for permission from the Late District Head for a meeting and this was granted. A meeting was scheduled at the parish house. The meeting was held on the 13th September 2019 with good resolutions to toll the path of progress. Useful developments started, like the people been gainfully engaged in order to take their minds off social vices through poverty alleviation measures and many others. Fr Richard in his 26 years as a priest had spent 24 of such years serving in the rural areas and must have garnered experience in managing parishes in the rural settings for which St Gabriel Quasi Parish Tsavnum in Saghev is one of them with their peculiarities. His experience should therefore, be used as an advantage.

OBSERVATION: Few prominent people within the area, mostly, those in diaspora felt intimidated by these unique feats and show of love, the popularity and familiarity of Fr. Richard Iyaghigba with the people within one year of his stay was mistaken and obviously, politicized.

FIRST ATTACK: According to my investigation, on the 11th April, 2020 which was a Holy Saturday, the Nigerian Soldiers stationed at Tseem, in Saghev were mobilized and came on four motorcycles to launch an attack at FADA, where St Gabriel’s Quasi parish Tsavnum is located ransacked the place and requested that Rev. Fr Richard Iyaghigba should come out. When Fr. Richard obliged, they sarcastically, said “Father, you are the one they told us that you are keeping armed robbers” As shocking as it was Fr. Richard was calm and responded “If anyone told you that then it is a lie and not true” Fr was ordered to go and sit on the floor with his cassock (the vestment used by priest as their official regalia). Fr. Richard refused to sit on the floor with his cassock. A soldier ordered him to surrender all his mobile phones which he did. Another soldier pointed a gun at him, it was at this time that Fr Richard responded “If you kill me, the life is not mine but belongs to God”. Fr was abused, intimidated and humiliated. The soldiers forcefully, collected N30,000 from a boy (a petty trader) that was selling fuel in the village, filled the tanks of their four motorcycles and overturned the remaining fuel worth N20,000 on the ground. On arrival of the supposed commander, he collected the mobile handsets and handed them back to Fr. soliciting Fr. Richard’s help in fetching the bad eggs so that peace will reign.

SECOND ATTACK: If the first attack was brutal, the second was more brutal and a near calamity was averted, Rev. Fr. Richard Iyaghigba escaped death by God’s intervention. The pictures will explain. This happened on Sunday the 3rd May 2020 at about 2 am. This time Rev. Fr. Iyaghigba heard a knock at his door and a voice called out “Father open your door” Investigation showed that Fr. quickly alerted all the people around the parish house at that time thinking they were armed robbers and surmount courage, came out of his room to open the door and prayed to God to take Charge. On approaching the main entrance, he heard the first gun shot that was fired at him. Fr went down and he heard the second shot through the glass window to the door and a voice shouted that “they are men of the Nigeria Army” Fr refused to open the door till day break. At day break Fr Richard and all those who slept in the Quasi parish that day were marched out with their hands on their head. They were all beating mercilessly. The supposed rampaging soldiers entered the boy’s quarters and stripped the female staff of the parish naked. Fr. Richard was taken back to the house and the soldiers ransacked the parish house overturning everything in the house on the ground for 3 hours. The commander said somebody told them to come and look for guns in the parish house. Thereafter, Fr was brought out abused, humiliated and interrogated for 50 minutes. A soldier brought out a locally made pistol, pointed a gun at Fr’s head and asked him to hold the pistol so that they will snap and send to the social media. Information has it that Fr refused, one of the soldiers held the pistol towards Fr Richard and was snapped while another pointed a gun at him that if he refused to comply he will shoot him with the intention of tarnishing Fr and the Church’s reputation. They took away N199,000 meant for Church work at Abagi, collected N4,000 from the house boy and also took away a Boxer motorcycle BW 100 with engine number DUZWJG 17245 and chassis number MB2A18AYIJING 61942.
It would be recalled that Rev. Fr. Richard Orhungur Iyaghigba lost his mother on the 1st March and buried her on the 18th March 2020. Barely, less than one month, the first attack came. As if that was not enough, in less than a month again, another attack came. This is psychologically and emotionally difficult to bear, kindly pray for Fr Richard and other Rev Frs for God to continue to spare their lives and strengthen them. Amen
I therefore, call on the authorities to investigate this thoroughly with a view to bringing the culprits to book and take all measures to protect Rev Fr Richard Orhungur Iyaghigba in his area of assignment before he would be assassinated. Take a look at the pictures. Sam Ighagiba.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *