By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Police Command has launched a manhunt for the abductors of Rev. Fr. John Bako Shekwolo, the Parish Priest of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ankwa Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Catholic priest was reportedly abducted by gunmen on Monday at about 8:00am at his residence.
The gunmen were said to have forcefully took him away to an unknown destination as they fired gunshots to scare people in the community.
The spokesman of the police command, Yakubu Sabo, who confirmed the incident in a statement, said the gunmen abducted the clergy man at about 8:00am on Monday.
He said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Kachia, alongside operatives from the command’s anti-kidnapping unit were promptly mobilised and were combing the general area with a view to rescue the clergy man and arrest the criminals.
Sabo said the police were doing everything humanly possible to track down and arrest the criminals.
The police have called on members of the public to assist them with relevant information that could help in curbing the menace of banditry and kidnapping in the state.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the abduction of the Catholic priest.
In a statement on Monday, the state chairman of the association, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, lamented that kidnapping was becoming a big business in Kaduna State and appealed to the abductors to release Shekwolo without hurting him.
“While we note with pains that kidnapping in Kaduna State has become a big business, we appeal to the consciousness of the kidnappers to kindly release Father Shekwolo unhurt.
“It is sad that Kaduna State has become centre of kidnapping with government doing almost nothing to stop it.
“This shows there is governance failure as far as security of lives and property is concerned.
”Unless we stop playing lips service to issues of security, the evil of kidnapping and other insecurity problems will not stop,” the statement said.
Hayab called on the government and security agencies to wake up to their full responsibilities of protecting lives and property of the citizens which is the essence of government existence.
”To the kidnappers, CAN appeal to them to please release the poor and innocent Priest unhurt to the waiting hands of the Church and his family.
“I am appealing to all faithful and lovers of peace to continue to pray for Father Shekwolo and for God to touch the hearts of the kidnappers,” the statement said.