Suspected gunmen on Monday abducted a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Paul Irikefe, and whisked him away to unknown destination. Fr. Irikefe, a lecturer with Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Major Seminary in Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, was said to have been kidnapped at the Benin bye-pass in Edo State. But another information revealed that the victim might have been picked up by the kidnappers around Effurun, near Warri in Delta State.
THISDAY checks revealed that the priest left Ibadan and was on his way to Warri, Delta State to attend the burial rites of his friend and colleague, Rev. Fr. Benet Chike Amaefule. Rev. Fr. Amaefule died on August 16, 2016 at the age of 31 after a brief illness. A night vigil of prayers and mass was put in place for the late priest at S S Peters and Pauls Catholic church at Emode in Isoko Local Government area of the state on Monday at 4p.m. THISDAY learnt that an early morning prayer and funeral mass was organised for the late priest yesterday at Sacred Heart Catholic church, Warri. The kidnapped priest was on his way for the Monday vigil prayers for the deceased when he was abducted along Benin bye pass by the suspected gunmen.
THISDAY learnt that the incident affected the morale of the other priests that had gathered for the burial of their late colleague. One of the priests at the diocese, who pleaded anonymity, described the kidnap as a shock to the catholic family in the state. He pleaded with the kidnappers to release the priest unconditionally and in safe condition. The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Celestina Kalu, said the incident did not take place in the state but assured that her command was prepared to assist its Edo State counterpart in apprehending the suspects should they come into Delta State.