The abductors of the Parish Priest of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ankwa Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Rev. Fr. John Shekwolo, have yet to make contact with the church for ransom, 24 hours after the incident, the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna has said.
The Chancellor of the Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Daniel Kyom, told Northern City News on the telephone on Tuesday that the abductors had not made contact with the church.
The Kaduna State Police Command had on Monday confirmed the abduction of the priest by gunmen.
The spokesman for the command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, said it had since dispatched its operatives to the village to comb the area with a view to rescuing the priest and arrest the kidnappers.
He said in a statement, “Information reaching the command from the Divisional Police Officer in Kachia indicated that on Monday around 8am, armed men entered the residence of the cleric and took him away to an unknown destination.
“A team of policemen led by the Kachia Divisional Police Officer, police mobile force personnel and operatives from the command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit were promptly mobilised to the village with a view to combing the area for the possible rescue of the victim and arrest of the criminals.”
When contacted to know whether or not the abductors had reached out to the church, the chancellor said they had yet to make contact and demand ransom as of the time of filing this report.
Kyom said the church had intensified prayers over the abduction of priest so that he could be released unhurt.
“They (abductors) have yet to contact us. For now, we are only praying for the priest,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, on Tuesday, condemned the abduction of Rev. Fr. Shekwolo.
The Kaduna CAN Chairman, Rev. John Hayab, described the incident as sad, noting that “kidnapping in Kaduna State has become a big business.”
The chairman, in a signed statement made available to Northern City News, warned that unless the government stopped paying lip service to security matters, kidnapping and other related crimes would persist in the state.
Hayab insisted that government and security agencies must wake up to their responsibility of protecting lives and property of the citizens.
This, he said, remained the essence of the existence of the government, adding that the current wave of kidnapping in the state was an indication of the failure of governance as far as security was concerned.
He stated, “While we note with pain that kidnapping in Kaduna State has become a big business, we appeal to the consciousness of the kidnappers to kindly release Fr. Shekwolo unhurt.
“It is sad that Kaduna State has become the centre of kidnapping with the government doing almost nothing to stop it. This shows that there is a governance failure as far as security of lives and property is concerned.
“Unless we stop paying lip service to issues of security, the evil of kidnapping and other insecurity problems will not stop.
“Government and security agencies must wake up to their full responsibility of protecting lives and properties of the citizens, which is the essence of the government’s existence.”
Hayab appealed to the kidnappers to release the priest unhurt to the church and his family.
“I am appealing to all faithful and lovers of peace to continue to pray for Rev. Fr. Shekwolo and for God to touch the hearts of the kidnappers,” he added.