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 have announced.

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

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“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.”

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 last July that parents were overheard saying: “I won’t let my child be baptised by a black man.”

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