Thursday, 29 September 2016

Herdsmen Kidnapes Anambra Catholic Priest, Demand N2.5m ransom

Herdsmen kidnap Catholic Priests, shoot another in Anambra

· We won’t pay anything, says Church
Marauding Fulani herdsmen have taken their activi­ties to some high­ways in Anambra State where they have kidnapped a Catholic Priest and shot another.
One of the victims of the latest onslaught of the herds­men in the South East is the Rector of Fr. Tansi Major Sem­inary, Onitsha, Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dim.
The herdsmen, who kid­napped the priest on Monday along the Nkoplogwu-Nimbo Road, are demanding a ransom of N2.5 million for his release.
Also on Monday, another Catholic cleric, who was travel­ling on the Abuja-Lokoja High­way, was abducted by gunmen.
The news of Father Dim’s abduction was broken on Wednesday in Nnewi by the Director of Communications, Nnewi Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Hygi Aghaulor.
Father Aghaulor said that the incident occurred about 7pm on Monday when the priest and two others, Rev. Frs Jude Chukwun­eke and Jude Ezeokana, were re­turning from Nsukka after a con­dolence visit to their colleague, Rev. Fr. Uchenna Ezeh of Nsuk­ka Diocese, who lost his mother.
He said that while Rev. Fr. Dim is still being held by the herdsmen who have demanded a ransom of N2.5 million, Rev. Fr. Ezeokana, who lectures in both the Tansi Major Seminary and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was briefly treated in Nsukka be­fore he was moved to Awka, the Anambra State capital.
The cleric added that Rev. Fr. Chukwuneke, the chaplain of St Camillus de Lellis Chap­laincy, College of Health Sci­ences, Nnamdi Azikiwe Univer­sity, Nnewi, who was shot in the head, had been transferred from Memphis Specialist Hospital, Enugu to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital.
Aghaulor said that a separate incident occurred on the same day when a Vincentian priest was kidnapped along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway while travelling in the company of his brother.
The Catholic priest lamented that when the first incident hap­pened, “nobody expected that it will be carried out on a contin­uous basis.
“While we call on people of goodwill to continue to pray for the immediate release of Rev. Fr. Emma Dim and the Vincentian priest, we are tempted to won­der if Nigeria is on the verge of collapse. All over the country, women are being raped, intim­idated, innocent Nigerians are being slaughtered and proper­ty worth billions of naira are be­ing destroyed by hoodlums sus­pected to be Fulani herdsmen”.
Aghaulor decried the situa­tion where innocent Nigerians are left unprotected while there are military wares and personnel protecting pipelines in the Niger Delta, which he said, gives the impression that “oil is more im­portant than humans.”
The priest, who said that Catholic Priests have become endangered species, however, ruled out any payment of ran­som in line with the position of the Catholic Bishops that the church will not for any reason pay ransom to criminals.
He called on the securi­ty agencies to evolve proactive mechanisms to ensure the pro­tection of life and property in the country, noting that recent hap­penings are certainly not part of what the people signed up for as a nation.
“We want the Federal Gov­ernment to address the ine­quality in appointments in the security sector, the current ar­rangement which gives the im­pression that the military and other security agencies belong to a particular region of the country is unacceptable. We implore the South East gover­nors to learn from their Ekiti State counterpart and use con­stitutional means to protect the people in their states,” Aghau­lor said.
Meanwhile, the police au­thorities in Nnewi were not forthcoming on Father Dim’s abduction. A senior police of­ficer in the area, however, as­sured the public that everything will be done to secure the cler­ic’s release.
The AUTHORITY re­calls that it was a ‘black Mon­day’ in the farming community of Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area on April 25, 2016 when Fulani herdsmen at­tacked farmers and killed scores of them.
Recently, an auditor with the Enugu State government was kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen who demanded N5 million for his release. The victim, Ogoo­be Stephen, from Ukapi Nim­bo, had gone home in company of six other persons.
Another Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ugwu, was kidnapped on August 9, 2014 by hoodlums suspected to be mem­bers of the Boko Haram sect. He was abducted along the Enugu new road. A few weeks later, a senior seminarian was killed in cold blood in Attakwu, Enugu State, during a night invasion by suspected herdsmen.



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