The first Papal Knights in Africa were Nigerians and were invested in Onitsha in 1956. This was during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII the recommending Bishop then was the Archbishop of Onitsha Archbishop Charles Heerey. Since then the number has grown considerably to about 322 as at May, 2016. These Papal Honourees are spread all over the country.
The Papal Knights and medalists in Nigeria have been meeting under different groups depending on the location of the Honourees. Thus, there was no single umbrella under which they could meet and discuss issues that affects the Church and take a common position on same. Hence, the need arose for an Association to coordinate the various groups.
On Saturday 29th November, 2009, Papal Knights and medalists from all the nine (9) Ecclesiastical provinces of Nigeria met at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Center (DRACC) Lubgbe Abuja Nigeria and resolved to establish an Association to be known as “Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria”.
A steering committee of eleven (11) members comprising a Chairman, Sir Dr. Brendan Nkanang, Secretary, Dame, Dr. Esther Uduehi and one member from each of the Ecclesiastical provinces was set up.
This committee operated for a year and set up structures which culminated in the formation of the Association and elections in 2011, The election produced Sir Chief Moses Braimah as Chairman, Dame Dr. Esther Uduehi as Secretary and Sir Patrick Ikemefuna as Vice President. Under the Moses Braimah led National Executive, the Association pressed hard and obtained a Decree of Approval from the Bishops Conference of Nigeria dated 20th February, 2013.
The Association is currently under the leadership of Sir Patrick Ikemefuna, Dame Dr. Esther Uduehi as Vice President and Sir Steve Adehi as Secretary. The Association has so far held eight (8) National Conferences in 8 Ecclesiastical Provinces with the 9th scheduled to take place in Lagos in November, 2016.