David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has said the Catholic Church will not pay ransom, and has never done so to free any kidnapped priest.
Ezeokafor, who was reacting to the recent kidnap of a priest, Rev. Father Christopher Ogaga, in Aragba, Oviri-Okpe, Delta State, and the eventual demand for N15million ransom, said it would be foolhardy and unimaginable for the ‘Universal Church’ to pay for the release of any abducted priest.
The prelate, who spoke at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, emphatically said the reason the ‘Mother Church’ did not pay ransom to kidnappers was because the church relied solely on people’s benevolence and goodwill for survival.
He wondered why anyone in their right senses would ever think of kidnapping a priest of God, let alone, requesting ransom from the Church.
The cleric added that Catholic priests owned nothing, and therefore had nothing to give to anybody.
“Catholic priests live on parishioners’ benevolence. Whatever they receive as gift is what they live on, no additional income anywhere. They have given up everything-children, wealth, and acquisition of property.
“They sacrificed their earthly pleasures just to serve God and humanity. They need prayers, help, encouragement and not this type of treatment.
“These people are working for God and humanity. They are not being paid. They rely solely on people’s assistance, goodwill and kind gestures for their survival. Why go after those working out your salvation? I cannot understand it,” Bishop Ezeokafor said.
Meanwhile, Fr. Ogaga was last week rescued by men of the Nigeria Police Force in Delta State.