Nigeria: Kidnappers Free Catholic Priest After Ransom Payment

The kidnappers initially demanded N100 million ransom.

A Catholic Priest, Alphonsus Eboh, abducted by gunmen in Akwa Ibom State on Sunday has been freed after spending four days in captivity.

Mr Eboh was abducted around 7 p.m. on May 8 at his residence, inside the parish house — St Pius X parish — Ikot Abasi Akpan, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Cletus Okodi, the chairman of the parish council, who confirmed the release of the priest, said money was paid to his abductors.

The gunmen had demanded N100 million ransom.

Mr Okodi told PREMIUM TIMES the parish paid money to the kidnappers, but he did not, however, mention the specific amount.

“They (kidnappers) cannot release him without money. We paid what we have but not up to N100 million,” Mr Okodi told our reporters Thursday morning.

The church said the gunmen abducted the priest shortly after he returned from visiting a parishioner who was ill.

The Catholic authorities in Uyo Diocese had urged the public to pray for his safe release.

His abduction came a few days after a popular Pentecostal preacher in the state, John Okoriko, was abducted and later released, apparently after ransom payment.

The priest’s abduction took place less than 10 kilometers away from where Mr Okoriko was abducted.

It is unclear for now if the same group was responsible for the two abductions.

The police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Odiko Macdon, did not respond to the request for comment for this report.

Meanwhile, a Catholic priest abducted some weeks ago in Kaduna, Nigeria’s North-west, has reportedly died in captivity.

The priest, Joseph Bako, died between April 18 and 20, according to the Catholic authorities in Kaduna.

He was 48 years old.

Abduction for ransom is now one of the dominant crimes across various Nigerian cities.

Politicians, entrepreneurs, just anyone with good financial worth, including school children, are easy targets.


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