Kachikwu bemoans rising abduction, killing of Catholic Priests

Kachikwu bemoans rising abduction, killing of Catholic Priests

The Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, on Wednesday, decried an upsurge in the abduction and killing of Catholic Priests in the country.

Kachikwu in a statement issued in Abuja described the development as unacceptable and an unprovoked aggression against a section of the population dedicated to the service of God and humanity.

He insisted that the ugly development must be urgently nipped in the bud by the relevant security agents.

Kachikwu recalled that no fewer than 18 Catholic priests have been abducted by terrorists with some of them killed between January and July this year.

One of such killings include that of June 26, involving a Catholic Priest in Edo State, Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia, who was abducted and later murdered.

Kachikwu noted that the killing of Odia was preceded by the abduction and killing of a Kaduna State-based Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, on June 25, by suspected terrorists.

He added that on July 6, the priest presiding at Holy Ghost Parish, Eke-Olengbeche, Rev. Fr. Peter Amodu, was also kidnapped by armed men along Otukpo Ugbokolo road, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

Kachikwu stated that the latest incident was the killing of Reverend Father John Cheitnum, following his kidnap alongside his colleague, Reverend Father Donatus Cleopas by bandits on July 16 in Jere Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Fr. Cleopas was later released after an alleged payment of an undisclosed sum as ransom while

Fr. Cheitnum, former Director of Communications at the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan was murdered.

Kachikwu said it was regrettable that over 3,478 Nigerians were reportedly killed with 2,256 abducted in seven months between December 2021 and June 15, despite repeated assurances by the Federal Government to halt the reprehensible trend.

He noted that according to a statement by the Church in Need, a global Catholic Charity Organization, “about 18 priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of 2022, with five in the first week of July alone. Although most were released unharmed, three were killed.”

Kachikwu who had earlier called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign his position on account of worsening insecurity in the country also called on relevant security agencies to rise up to the challenge of insecurity in the country and ensure adequate security of Nigerians, especially Priests of the Catholic faith who have not only become vulnerable but an endangered species.

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