CAN Seeks Release of Kidnapped Imo Catholic Bishop

By Amby Uneze

The Imo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for the unconditional release of the auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Moses Chikwe, who was kidnapped along with his driver in Owerri, the state capital.

It was learnt Chikwe was whisked away alongside his driver on Sunday night at a location not far from his residence in the state capital.

His car and official regalia were later found at the premises of the Assumpta Cathedral, also in Owerri.

The state police command confirmed the abduction but did not give further details about the incident.

Orlando Ikeokwu, the command spokesman, said efforts are in progress to rescue the bishop and arrest the kidnappers.

‘The Commissioner of Police has activated the Command’s Quick Intervention Team (QUIT) and the Anti Kidnapping Unit (AKU), to move into the matter with a view to rescue the Bishop and possibly arrest the hoodlums,” he said in a terse statement.

The CAN chairman in the state, Divine Eches, in a statement yesterday in Owerri, condemned the abduction of the prelate.

Eches who said that the body of Christ received the news as a shock, said that the abductors had “desecrated the altar of God.”

He said that CAN was demanding that Chikwe be released unhurt and without any ransom paid.

The statement read: “The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Imo State chapter has received with shock the news of the kidnap of the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Of Owerri, Rt Rev Moses Chikwe, and condemned the act vehemently.

“This is a desecration of the altar of God and we call on the perpetrators to release him immediately.

“Clerics play a major role in the development and security of any nation as we are called to always pray for the State and people at all times even when we do not agree with their position.

“For us in Imo, we have always stood in the gap for our people, and this has resulted in calm irrespective of the political currents.

“Rt Rev Chikwe since his assumption as the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Of Owerri has discharged his duties quietly and without malice, which leaves one wondering why he is a target of kidnap.

“We call on his abductors to release him immediately unhurt and without any ransom paid.

“The entire Christian community in Imo State calls on the state Commissioner of Police to ensure the perpetrators of this act of wickedness are fished out to face the music.

“We appeal to our teeming youths not to allow themselves to be used by the devil to wreak havoc and fear in our beautiful state.

“While we commit to continually offer prayers and supplication to God for the people and state at all times, we request that lives and properties be made safe and that people can move about without fear and intimidation.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria appeals to everyone to pray for the safe return of Rt Rev Chikwe.

“We assure that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure his release even as we engage all the government and security agencies in the State.

“Surely the good Lord will continue to protect us all and bring back the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Of Owerri, Rt Rev Moses Chikwe, safe and sound.”

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