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Nigerian priest leaves German parish after receiving death threat

Priest Patrick Asomugha faced racist remarks, break-ins and had his tires slashed in the small town where he lived in Germany. The death threat was the final straw, making it impossible for him to do his job, he says.

A Nigerian parish priest was forced to leave his post as the head of a parish in western Germany out of concerns for his safety, the parish and local church officials announced on Friday.

The pastor, Patrick Asomugha, and the diocese of Speyer made the decision to remove him after he received a death threat last month.

“Concerns for the safety and wellbeing of pastor Asomugha makes this step unavoidable,” Andreas Sturm, vicar general for the Speyer diocese’s bishop, said in a statement. “It would be irresponsible to continue exposing pastor Asomugha to the threat.”

Read more:  Germany ‘must do more’ to fight racism: Council of Europe

Racist remarks in church

Asomugha took over as the head of a parish in Queidersbach, a small municipality in western Germany near the city of Kaiserslautern, in 2017.

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The trouble began last year after unknown suspects broke into the parish house where he lived. In both instances, there was considerable damage to his property.

Parishioners became more hostile, with people reportedly uttering racist abuse during church services. Local public broadcaster SWR reported in July last year that parents were overheard saying: “I won’t let my child be baptized by a black man.”

“I’m not taking anything from those dirty black hands,” one parishioner is reported to have said as Asomugha held communion. At the time, the diocese in Speyer declined to comment on specific cases.

Last year, someone slashed the tires of Asomugha’s car. The abuse grew worse, culminating in a death threat posted on the pastor’s garage door. Two days later, unknown suspects shattered bottles believed to be filled with alcohol in the entryway into parish house where Asomugha lives.

 

‘Impossible to lead normal parish life’

The death threat was the final straw. Asomugha said that the threats made it impossible to continue his work.

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“Under these circumstances, I can no longer fulfil my duties as a pastor in Queidersbach,” Asomugha said in a statement.

According to the church, he’d repeatedly called for reconciliation and peace within the parish and the wider community. In October, the church in Queidersbach held a “solidarity mass” to support Asomugha. Around 600 people attended the service to stand up to racism in their community.

Despite the service, the abuse continued and escalated, underscoring the danger he faced if he were to stay.

“The attacks against my person make it almost impossible to lead a normal parish life in Queidersbach,” Asomugha said.

Asomugha will leave his post on Monday, but will still hold an as-yet-undisclosed position within the diocese of Speyer.

SOURCE: DW

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

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Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  The child refugees risking the Channel by boat – one year on

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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READ  UN laments humanitarian challenges in Venezuela
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