Nigeria: seminary faces closure over food crisis

 A Catholic major seminary in Makurdi in central Nigeria is facing the stark choice of closure as a result of the worldwide food crisis. The rector of the seminary, Father Kenneth Enang, said the institution has already been forced to ration food on account of "astronomical prices." The seminary could be closed in two weeks, he said. Makurdi Major Seminary has some 520 seminarians from 15 dioceses around the country preparing for the priesthood. Fr Enang told the German-based international Catholic pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need, that the crisis had worsened the seminary's inability to meet its most essential costs. An additional problem is electricity supply, provided by a diesel generator for which the diesel has to be purchased. Within just one week the price of diesel had risen by a third. Since the beginning of the food crisis in April, the seminary has already had to take out credit in order to function at all. As a result, the rector said, he could be forced to close down the institution, before the students start to suffer malnourishment and the debts pile up. Plans to expand the seminary because of increased enrolment have been put on hold. Fr Enang described the seminary as a "bridge between the north and south of Nigeria. The rector said the growth of the Catholic Church in Nigeria is "phenomenal". Yet despite growth in vocations, there are still too few priests, especially in the rural areas. Source; CISA

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