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A Brief History of Maiduguri Diocese

The Prefecture Apostolic of Maiduguri was formally part of Jos Prefecture Apostolic. On 29th June 1953 it was entrusted to members of the Irish Province of the Hermits of St. Augustine. It was raised to the status of a Diocese on 7th June 1966Created in 1966, Diocese of Maiduguri is situated in the North Eastern part of Nigeria and covers an area of 132, 000 sq km. It is the second larges diocese in the country in terms of landmass and includes the whole of Borno, Yobe and 1/3 of the Northern part of Adamawa State. It is bounded to the North by the republic of Niger and Tchad and to the East by the Cameroon. The population of the Diocese is over 5 million inhabitants and of this, over 500,000 are Christians with the Catholic Church having over 221,000 adherents. There are also many followers of the traditional Religions. It is noteworthy that Borno is the cradle of Islam in Nigeria.

The major ethnic groups include Kanuri, Marghi, Higgi, Bura, Shuwa, Fulani, Kanakuru, (Derra), Fali, Karekare, Ngizim, Maffa, Pulka and Kilba.

Although attempts were made as early as 1970 and 1850 to sow the seed of the Gospel in Bornu from North Africa, the first sustained efforts started with the advent of the Irish Augustinian Fathers from Adamawa Province where they had been working since 1940. The opening of a mission in Kaya in 1948, led to the establishment and development of what today is called the Diocese of Maiduguri. The first mission to endure in Bornu (Maiduguri) was established in 1953 by Rev. Fr. A. J. Hanley, OSA.

The Prefecture of Bornu which was created in 1953 and co-terminated with the civil province of Bornu under the Prefect Apostolic of Yola, Msgr. Patrick J. Dalton, OSA. In 1962 Rev. Fr. Timothy Cotter, OSA was appointed Prefect Apostolic of Bornu and on 7th June 1966, the Prefecture was raised to the status of a Diocese with Msgr. Timothy Cotter, OSA as the First bishop.

With the creation of the Diocese, what is today called the Adamawa end, then under the Diocese of Yola, was added to it, a very wise and timely move. Today this part forms the heart and backbone of the Diocese with a very strong indigenous Catholic Community and a steady flow of vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life.

Bishop Timothy Cotter died in 1988 and was succeeded by most Rev. Dr. Senan Loius O'Donnell, OSA in 1993 having served as Diocesan Administrator for the intervening years. He retired in May 2003 and was succeeded by Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso. The diocese became vacant from November 16th 2007 to 6th june 2008 when Most Rev.Dr. Oliver Dashe Doeme was appointed as the 4th Bishop of Maiduguri.

First Mass in the Diocese..................1939
First Missionary ............ Fr. J. Hanley OSA
Population of Diocese 5.5 million
Catholic Population 222,745
Missionary Priests -
Nigerian Priests 63
Nigerian Sisters 38
Missionary Sisters -
Major Seminarians 56
Minor Seminarians 192
Sisters in Formation 5

ORDINARIES
Patrick Dalton, O.S.A Administration Apostolic......1954-1962
James T. Cotter, O.S.A, Prefect Apostolic... .........1962-1966
James T.Cotter, O.S.A, First Bishop.....................1966-1988
Senan L. O'Donnell, Second Bishop.....................1993-2003
Matthew M. Ndagoso, Third Bishop.....................2003-2007
Most Rev. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Fourth Bishop.........2009 - Date

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