Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Pope Francis has described the late 14-year-old Vivian Ogu as an example to all Christians not only in Nigeria but all over the world.
Vivian was on November 15, 2009, shot dead after she resisted being raped by suspected armed robbers who invaded her family house in Benin City.
The gunmen were said to have taken her and her sister out of town to a rural area where she was killed.
The Pope, who was represented by Archbishop Guampetno Dal Toso, International President of Pontifical Mission Societies, spoke at the closing ceremony of the National Mission Congress of Nigeria at the Vivian Ogu Missionary Animation Centre, Benin City, at the weekend.
“She showed us how we can live our faith without minding the consequences”, the Pope said, and expressed joy that “we have here in Nigeria this good example of a young woman who gave her life for her fidelity of her faith.”
Governor Godwin Obaseki, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), also agreed that her life was worth emulating.
Specifically, Governor Obaseki noted that Vivian died for what she believed in rather than succumbing to the whim and caprices of the armed robbers who shot and killed her for refusing to be raped.
“We are here in memory of the life of a young girl who at the age of 14 paid the supreme price for her refusal to be raped by the armed robbers that robbed her family that fateful night.
“At this junction, it is my esteemed pleasure to welcome all of you to Benin City on this memorable occasion for the consecration of the grounds on which Vivian Ogu was martyred.
“Believe me, this is the most befitting honour in preserving the memory of untimely and painful death of a heroine who strongly affirmed her belief in the teaching and doctrine of her Christian faith,” he said.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan said God has a message which He wanted to pass across to the world through Vivian’s death, stressing that there had been series of similar deaths in the country yet there was no much news about them.
“But Vivian’s case has proven otherwise. You must see the hand of God in this. How many times have we been hearing that armed robbers killed people? This is not the first time armed robbers are killing people but this particular case is special.
“It must be because God wants to use her to tell a story that we are so anxious to try to save our lives and in that, like the governor said, in an effort to save our lives, we give in to everything thinking that we are saving our lives whereas Jesus said those who want to save their lives will loose it and those who loose their lives for his sake will gain it.”
Similarly, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze said her death was a clarion call for christians to practice their faith.