BY TIMOTHY AGBOR
The Catholic Church in Nigeria has suffered another attack as some suspected kidnappers have abducted one of its priests, Rev. Fr. Marcellinus Obioma Okide on Eke-Egede-Affa Road, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The cleric was said to have been traveling along the Eke-Egede-Affa Road on Sunday, September 17, 2023, before he was waylaid and whisked away by the abductors around 5:00pm.
Six other travellers were also abducted at the same spot.
Confirming the abduction, Rev. Fr. Wilfred Chidi Agubuchie, the Diocesan Chancellor and Secretary, begged the kidnappers to have a change of heart and release the pastor without delay.
Meanwhile, the diocese has issued a fervent appeal to the faithful and the public at large for prayers, hoping for the swift and safe release of Fr. Okide.
Agubuchie invoking God’s intervention for the prompt freedom of Okide from the clutches of his captors and to safeguard the nation of Nigeria.
Okide, who serves at St. Mary Amofia-Agu Affa Parish, was en route to his parish when the unfortunate incident occurred.
It was learnt that the kidnappers have already made telephone contacts with relatives of the victims demanding N100 million as ransom.
Reports said the kidnappers had left the children of the victims inside their car crying helplessly before police operatives arrived the scene to evacuate them.
The police command was yet to react to the incident but operatives of Udi Police Division were combing the area with a view to securing the release of the Catholic Priest and other victims.
Okide’s incident came about nine days after rhe Catholic Church parish house in Kamanton, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State was set ablaze and a seminarian killed in an attack by gunmen.
The parish is under the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Jema’a Local Government Area.
It was gathered that the attackers stormed the parish house at about 8:00pm and set it ablaze, alongside a vehicle.
The deceased seminarian, Na’aman Ngofe Danladi, died from the smoke he inhaled while trying to escape from the attackers.
The Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Very Rev Fr Emmanuel Okolo, and his assistant escaped during the attack.
While confirming the incident, the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said the seminarian was about completing his training into the Catholic priesthood.
CAN in a statement signed by the state Chairman, Rev John Joseph Hayab, condemned the attack and called on the state government and relevant stakeholders to swing into action and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book.