5 February 2013

Nigeria: Kidnappers Abduct Priest, Demand Ransom From Church

Awka — THE pastor in charge of St Paul's Anglican Parish, Umunachi in Dunukofia local government area, Rev James Achigbu and the wife of the Anambra State chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Emmanuel Ekwesianya have been kidnapped at two different locations in Anambra State.

While Rev Achigbu was kidnapped along Umunachi - Eziowelle road at about 8.00 pm as he was returning home, the wife of the NMA chairman was abducted at about 7.30 am as she was about to drive her children to school in Ihiala.

Venerable Obi Ubaka in charge of Ogidi Archdeaconry said, Tuesday, that Rev Achigbu was with his wife, Uju, at the time of the incident.

He said: "Rev Achigbu and his wife were returning home in their Honda Accord car after visiting St. John's Church, Eziowele when the kidnappers blocked them along the Umunachi -Eziowele road and forced him into their vehicle. One of the kidnappers forced his wife out of the Honda car. "

According to Ubaka, the kidnappers have since then been demanding for ransom from the parish, adding that the church has consistently been telling them that it would not be involved in such transaction and appealed to the kidnappers to release the priest.

Police public relations officer, PPRO, in the state, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka confirmed the incident and said that effort were being made to effect the release of the pastor.

Elsewhere at Ihiala, the kidnappers of the NMA chairman's wife have demanded ransom of N50 million.

Mrs. Ekwesianya had prepared her children for school and as she opened their gate and drove out, the kidnappers blocked her with an SUV vehicle and forced her into the vehicle, leaving the children stranded.

Twenty four hours later, the abductors established contact with her husband, who is the director of medical services at Anambra State University, Uli and demanded payment of N50 million ransom.

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