Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Rt. Rev Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, abducted last Sunday by unknown gunmen at the Leru-Nkwoagu Isuochi junction in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, has been released.
He was released along with two others on Monday evening.
Others released along with him are the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s Chaplain.
A source said, “To God be the Glory. His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche; his Chaplain, Very Rev. Abidemi Jeremiah Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark, have regained their freedom few minutes ago. Thank you all for your prayers.”
He did not say whether ransom was paid before their release.
Police in Abia State had on Monday morning said they had swung into action towards rescuing the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Rt. Rev Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abia State Police Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna, told Daily Independent in Umuahia that the command had spread its dragnet in all corners of the area towards rescuing the Prelate and his team unhurt and without conditionality.
It would be recalled that the Prelate as well as the Bishop of Owerri Methodist Diocese including the Prelate’s chaplain and driver were amongst those kidnapped by the hoodlums.
“We’re on top of the situation, I’ll not say more. All we’re asking is that the public should volunteer information that will lead to a resounding success in this assignment very soon”, Ogbonna, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said. Meanwhile, the Methodist Church in Umuahia had embarked on prayers for God’s intervention in releasing its abducted Prelate, even as the church described the kidnap of the Methodist head in Nigeria as not only sacrilege, but an abomination.
The Presbyter, Wesley Cathedral, Umuahia, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Very Rev. Aaron Akabuokwu, who spoke on behalf of the church believed that the abduction of the head of Methodist Church in Nigeria is the “height of national and international embarrassment”.
According to the church, the abduction of Prelate Uche who was on his way to Owerri airport to board a plane to Lagos after officiating in a church service on Sunday, is an embarrassment to the Methodist Church in both Nigeria and in the world, saying that the church is not taking it kindly because “it’s a rude shock to it and even to the body of Christ in general”.
“Everybody should know that the Methodist Church in Nigeria is mourning; we’re in a very sad mood because of the ugly incident that occurred on the 29th of May 2023. It is a sacrilege, an abomination and height of national and international embarrassment.
“It goes to show how morally low people can go in this nation. There is no regard for the sacred; we’re trusting God that He will use the incidence to awaken our leaders”, he said.
Akabuokwu, who argued that if such a profile person could be kidnapped, said that there is no hope for the ordinary man. He pointed out that the axis of Okigwe, Uhube, Leru, Lokpanta cattle market, and Isuochi areas have lately become dangerous areas and home to kidnappers.
On how he feels about the areas, Akabuokwu insisted that places mentioned have lately become no go areas for motorists and pedestrians because hoodlums have made those areas their habitation and den.
“They kidnap and demand for ransom at will”, he remarked, adding that some churches have since the kidnap saga engaged in serious prayers, asking for God’s intervention, even as he held the belief that the head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria will be released soon.
CAN Tasked Buhari On Release Of Prelate, Others
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had condemned the abduction of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche and two others and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give an express order to security agencies to free them immediately and stop the incessant abduction of clerics and other innocent Nigerians forthwith.
In a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant, Media & Communications, to the President of CAN, His Eminence, Rev. (Dr.) Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, the Christian body said Uche was reportedly abducted on Sunday in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State along with Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark, the Methodist Bishop of Owerri and the Prelate’s Chaplain by unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani.
It said that “if a great Servant of God of Uche’s calibre could be kidnapped like a three-year old baby on a major road without any resistance from the police, it speaks volume of what our security architecture has become.
“Not fewer than 10 clerics have been kidnapped this year alone and none was rescued by the security agencies.
“In two instances, the victims were killed by their captors unfortunately!
“This is no more a country one can be proud. No reasonable government can continue to leave the citizens in a terrible state of insecurity as we are presently. This situation is not good for our nation at all.
“We, once again, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to do all within his powers to get these servants of God released very soon and unhurt.
“This administration must redeem its image of widespread insecurity by bringing sanity to this situation before leaving office.
“To those who are holding these Servants of God, we appeal to them to let go of them because they are not responsible for whatever reasons that made them criminals. We call on Christians and other well-meaning Nigerians to join us in praying for their release immediately”, the statement said.
Abductors Of Methodist Prelate Demanded N100m Ransom
The abductors of His Eminence, Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria and two other priests from the church had demanded a sum of N100 million as ransom.