CAN fumes as gunmen kidnap more than 22 clerics in one year

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Nope Fewer than 22 clerics were abducted by gunmen between June 2021 and June 2022 in Nigeria, investigation by Sunday punch found.

Recently, the prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Samuel Kanu, was abducted.

Kanu was abducted along the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway in Abia State along with the Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s Chaplain.

The Prelate told reporters that the church had paid 100 million naira to secure his freedom.

This was followed by the kidnapping of the Anglican Bishop of Jebba Diocese in Kwara State, Rt. Reverend Oluwaseun Aderogba.

He was kidnapped by gunmen alongside his wife and driver last Sunday on the Oyo-Ogbomoso highway in Oyo state.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 70 million naira.

Catholic priests, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Jos East, Reverend James Kantoma and Fr. Christopher Onotu of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Kogi was abducted between June 6 and June 13, 2022.

Two priests from the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Revs. Stephen Ojapa, Oliver Okpara and two boys were abducted by gunmen from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Gidan Maikambo, Katsina State on May 25.

In Ondo, Venerable Olu Obanla of the Anglican Church and his son were abducted along the Ifon-Okeluse road on Saturday 22 May.

State Police Command spokesman SP Funmilayo Odunlami said they were released by the kidnappers in Edo State three days after their abduction.

In Akwa Ibom, a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Alphonsus Uboh, from St. Pius X Parish in IkotAbasiAkpan Village, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area was abducted on May 8, 2022.

Additionally, the founder of Solid Rock Kingdom Church, Apostle John Okoriko was abducted in the same LGA in April 2022. It was learned that Okoriko regained his freedom from the kidnappers after payment of N10 million.

In Kaduna, Catholic priests Reverend Father Joseph Bako of St. John’s Church in Kudenda and Reverend Father Felix Zakari Fidson of Zaria Diocese were abducted between March 8 and March 24, 2022.

In Niger, Reverend Father Leo Ozigi of St. Mary’s Church, Sarkin Pawa Village in Munya LGA of Niger State was abducted along with others on March 27. Ozigi regained his freedom after the mobsters received an undisclosed sum.

In Maiduguri, Reverend Father Elijah Wada of Maiduguri Diocese was abducted by Boko Haram terrorists along Damboa Maiduguri Road on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. This was confirmed by the Diocesan Secretary, Fr. Jean Bakéni.

Armed men also invaded Christ the King Major Seminary in Kaduna on October 9, 2021, kidnapping five seminarians. All were eventually released.

A statement from the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Emmanuel Okolo confirmed their release. Details about the ransom paid were not disclosed.

In addition, a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Godfrey Chimezie of St. Theresa Parish, Umuahia was abducted on October 13 along Enyiukwu Road, Abia State. The PUNCH reported that the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia, Lucius Ugorji, announced the pastor’s release.

In Ogun, two Islamic clerics, Hussein AbdulJelil, and his friend, Ilyas Jamiu, were abducted by a band of kidnappers in Ayetoro on December 18.

Another Muslim cleric was abducted alongside 11 others in two separate attacks in the Sabon Birni area of ​​Sokoto state on 13 December.

Government without will

Talk to Sunday PUNCH, The assistant to the CAN president, Bayo Oladeji, said the president, Major General Mohammed Buhari (retired), had failed to ensure the safety of lives and property across the country.

He pointed out that the FG has also refused to overhaul the intelligence community’s security architecture.

“Any government that fails to protect its citizens has given the people a free hand to protect themselves, and there is no law against that,” Oladeji added.

However, NASFAT’s Chief of Mission, Sheikh Abdul-Azeez Onike, said: “The government is trying, but we want them to do more to ensure the safety of lives and property because it is their main role.

Further, a Professor of Sociology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Prof. Emmanuel Gyong said, “The most important thing is the political will to use the military to do what needs to be done. The government arrested people like Nnamdi Kanu, Evans and some members of IPOB, so what’s the difference? »

Similarly, the President of the National Association of Criminologists and Security Practitioners of Nigeria, Williams Ekponson, said, “Government can solve insecurity in the country through job creation. Families must also be educated on how to protect their lives, so that they do not fall prey to any security threat.

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