Methodist Prelate Speaks on Abduction, Says N100m Ransom Paid to Kidnappers for His Freedom
The Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche has revealed that the Church paid a ransom of N100 million to secure freedom for him and two other priests following their abduction on Sunday afternoon.
He made this known Tuesday at a news conference in Lagos during which he narrated the ordeal they passed through in the hands of their abductors, who according to him, were eight in number.
The governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, had in a press release signed by his chief press secretary, Onyebuchi Ememenka gave the impression that no ransom was paid before the clerics were freed on Monday.
He attributed the release of “the eminent men of God within 24 hours of their abduction to the grace of God, the fervent prayers of the Christian Community and the well coordinated response from security agencies in Abia State”.
But while the Prelate acknowledged the hands of God in protecting them and safeguarding their lives as they passed through torture in the hands of the evil men, he outrightly stated that neither the security agencies nor government played any role in securing their release.
According to him, the huge amount of money paid for their freedom was arranged in five sacks of N20 million each, adding that the kidnappers came in an unmarked pickup van and collected the money at the spot it was dropped for them.
The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria said that the ransom money was raised by Church members.
Frantic efforts to raise the money had commenced on Monday immediately the kidnappers made contact and demanded for N100 million before they would free the clerics.
The Secretary of the Methodist Church Conference, the Rt. Revd. Michael Akinwale had in a statement on Monday appealed to all parishioners to rise up and help in raising the N100 million ransom. He also provided the account number of the Church domiciled with First Bank.
Aside from admitting the payment of ransom, the Methodist Prelate also made other revelations confirming that Fulani herdsmen were behind the business of kidnapping for ransom in Abia.
He identified the gang that abducted him and his fellow clerics as “Fulani boys”; adding that their leader, who said he was born in Amuzukwu Umuahia, is about 35 years while others were in their teens.
The Prelate lamented the apparent indifference of the security agencies to the atrocities being committed by the Fulani herdsmen along the axis of evil within Umunneochi and Isuikwuato local governments of Abia.
“But the irony of it is that where they(kidnappers) were situated, the soldiers all of Fulani extraction, Nigerian soldiers, they were there at Lokpa junction and these boys were going behind them. Meanwhile they kept their cows somewhere, numbering about 200” he said.