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Gunmen kidnap Catholic Priest, Six Others In Enugu



Gunmen have kidnapped a Catholic Priest, Rev. Father M. Okide of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, and six other travellers on Sunday evening in Enugu.

The incident occurred along Eke-Affa-Egede Road in Udi Local Government Area of the State between 4.30pm and 5pm.

It was learnt that the kidnappers have already made telephone contacts with relatives of the victims, demanding N100 million as ransom before the Catholic Priest and other captives could be released.

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 is yet to react to the incident but operatives of Udi Police Division are already combing the area with a view to securing the release of the Catholic Priest and other victims.

The Catholic Diocese of Enugu State confirmed his abduction and called on Christians to pray for his safety.

The Diocesan Communication Director, Rev. Fr. Anthony Aneke, who confirmed his abduction in a statement, decried the upsurge in insecurity in the state, South East, and the entire country, appealing to both the security agencies and the government to live to the calling and ensure the security of Nigerians at all times.

The statement partly read, “In a troubling incident, Rev. Fr. Marcellinus Obioma Okide, a Catholic priest, was abducted on September 17, 2023, at approximately 5:00 p.m. while traveling along the Eke-Egede-Affa Road in Nigeria. Fr. Okide, who serves at St. Mary Amofia-Agu Affa Parish, was en route to his parish when the unfortunate incident occurred.

“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. Additionally, they are calling for a change of heart on the part of the kidnappers. This distressing event highlights the ongoing challenge of kidnappings in the region.

“Rev. Fr. Wilfred Chidi Agubuchie, the Diocesan Chancellor and Secretary, issued the plea, invoking the Lord’s intervention to free Fr. Okide from the clutches of his captors and to safeguard the nation of Nigeria. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the security issues plaguing the country, and the need for concerted efforts to address them.”