Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Washington Correspondent Owen Jensen confronted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday following the horrific killing on Sunday of a Nigerian priest Rev. Isaac Achi.
A Nigerian police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said that Rev. Achi was burned alive in his home in the Paikoro area of Niger state, in the country’s north, after gunmen failed to break into his house and instead set it on fire. Abiodun added that a second priest living in the compound escaped with a gunshot wound to his shoulder.
The killing triggered international condemnation, including from Pope Francis and the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, before eventually making it to the White House.
“How many more Nigerian priests have to be so brutally murdered before Nigeria is placed back on the Countries of Particular Concern list,” Owens asked Jean-Pierre during Wednesday’s press briefing.
“That is something I would refer you to the State Department about — that particular list,” Jean-Pierre responded.
Asked by Owen whether the Biden administration will “forcefully condemn” acts of violence against Christians in Nigeria, Jean-Pierre said the administration condemns “violence of any kind.”
“So, let me just say we are saddened by the senseless killing. The report — we have seen the reports, and we certainly are saddened by that. We are monitoring the situation as information develops. And so, we hope that Nigerian authorities will quickly bring the perpetrators to justice. And, of course, we condemn violence of any kind. And so, that is something that you’ve heard me say many times from this podium, and that is something that we will continue to condemn,” Jean-Pierre said.
On December 16, 2022, activists confronted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington D.C. over the killing of Christians in Nigeria, and condemned the Biden administration for taking Nigeria off the list of the Countries of Particular Concern.
Dede Laugesen, Executive Director of Save the Persecuted Christians, who protested during Buhari’s ‘conversation’ at the U.S. Institute of Peace and was escorted out of the room, described Mr. Buhari as “the mastermind behind the genocide of Christians in Nigeria.”
“I’m out here today with my good friends and fellow activists who are protesting President Muhammadu Buhari’s conversation here at the US Institute of Peace because President Buhari is the mastermind behind the genocide of Christians in Nigeria,” Laugesen said. She added that Buhari is not a man of peace and that she wanted to ask him about Christians in Nigeria.
Faith Mcdonnell, a human rights advocate for over twenty-eight years, another protester, described Buhari’s invitation to the U.S. Institute of Peace as “appalling”, wondering why an invitation was extended to “the genocidal president of Nigeria” who is “responsible for not only directly, but allowing the continual slaughter of Christians in Nigeria by Boko Haram and Fulani and calling it an issue of climate change.
Dr. Gloria Samdi-Puldu, who hails from Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria, and is the global director of Give Her Voice and president of the LEAH Foundation, traveled all the way from Nigeria, to ask president Buhari about Leah Sharibu, a Christian girl who was among the 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years old who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, located in Bulabulin, Bursari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the northeast part of Nigeria.
Leah Sharibu, a Christian schoolgirl aged fourteen at the time of her capture, is the only remaining Dapchi schoolgirl still held hostage.
Attacks by armed groups in northern and central Nigeria are frequent, and sometimes target clerics. Rev. John Mark Chietnum was kidnapped in Kaduna state last July and killed.