The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria have condemned the kidnapping of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Samuel Kanu-Uche, in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
It was gathered that the cleric was kidnapped alongside the Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark, and his (the Prelate’s) chaplain on Sunday.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the abduction to one of our correspondents.
“The incident is quite unfortunate and the Abia State Police Command has put in place efforts to ensure that he is rescued alongside others and where possible, to arrest the people behind this dastardly act.
“Meanwhile, we are calling on members of the public to give us credible information that will help us to actualise this mission,” Ogbonna said.
Reacting to the development, Bayo Oladeji, the spokesperson for the CAN President, Olasupo Ayokunle, described the incident as a disappointment on the part of those managing the security architecture of the state and the country.
Decrying the state of insecurity in the country, Oladeji demanded the immediate release of the kidnapped victims, adding that the cleric was on a farewell visit when the incident happened.
He said, “It is another sad commentary, tragedy, disaster and disappointment on the part of those that are managing our security architecture. Nowhere is safe in this country and we keep asking them to overhaul the security architecture but they refused.
“Now, everybody is afraid to travel either by air, road or by water. Nowhere is safe. Here is a great servant of God who has used all his youthful and present years to serve this country through the church. He has been praying for this nation and he is about to retire.
“To complete his tenure as the Prelate of the Methodist, look at how they are rewarding him. He has been going on farewell visits round the country, to every area that matters in the Methodist church, but the man was kidnapped, an old man for that matter.
“Our appeal goes to the government that they should make sure that this great servant of God is released this week. If truly we have a government; if truly our security architecture is functioning; if truly the security architecture of this country has not collapsed, he (and others) must be released.”
Also reacting, the National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke, described the incident as a sad development as he called for the release of the cleric and other victims.
He said, “This is a very shocking event. There is no iota of fear for men of God. Kidnapping an elderly man and a man of God, a principal leader of the Church in Nigeria is appalling. This is a very sad development.
“I want to call on the abductors to release His Eminence, Samuel Kanu, without injury to his person and they should fear God and release him without touching him in any way. They should let the fear of God guide them.
“I also want to appeal to the government from the FG to state and others not only to ensure the release of His Eminence, Samuel Kanu, but also others that have been kidnapped. Those Kaduna train kidnappers, all, we are begging them to release all those with them.”
Kanu-Uche, had in an interview with The PUNCH on May 18, urged Nigerians to remain calm in the face of security challenges ravaging the country.
Speaking with The PUNCH during his farewell visit to the palace of the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi (Aderogushen V), Kanu-Uche expressed dissatisfaction over the recent killing of a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Deborah Samuel, by an irate mob, following allegations of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed.
The Prelate said, “We know there are things that can cause anger, hunger, economic downturns, and other things, but we should be patient with one another. We have no other country than Nigeria, so we should not start killing people.
“We should not vent our anger against fellow Nigerians, we should be one another’s keeper, and we should protect one another. That is my message to Nigerians.”