Nigeria: Archbishop Kaigama Appeals to Government to Curb Increased Kidnappings

Abuja — Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja has appealed to the government of Nigeria to do their part in curbing the cases of kidnapping in the country.

"We are helpless, we know as a religious people we trust in God and in His mercy, His compassion and protection, but our leaders have to do their duty. I am afraid not much is being done," said Archbishop Kaigama.

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on January 27, he labelled the menace of kidnappings as, "a disease that is spreading without any significant effort being made to stop it."

Referring to the kidnapping of eight children from an orphanage on January 24, Fr John Gbakaan on January 15, and Bishop Moses Chikwe on December 27 among other cases, Archbishop Kaigama called on the Nigerian government to ensure the protection of Nigerians.

The Archbishop expressed optimism that the criminal acts will stop and that people would be able to go about their daily businesses freely, without fear of molestation.

"Kidnappings have been going on for a long time in Nigeria, but people thought it would not happen to religious leaders. So, when it does happen, it is big news," the Archbishop further explained stressing that while it is a very sad fact that the country's religious leaders are being kidnapped and killed, there are other Nigerians who are suffering the same fate.

"They are what I would call silent victims, and there are many of them," he said.

The archbishop said kidnappers had different motives some fired by militant religious zeal and others desperate for money but the Church's policy was to refuse ransom demands in all cases.

"Paying a ransom means putting everyone for sale and endanger all the priests, nuns and collaborators of the Church who move continuously between the villages, without enjoying any kind of comfort, but always ready to sacrifice themselves for the love of God and His people. Paying ransom encourages criminality and invites the kidnappers to do more harm," he said.

Calling for a change of attitude by the government, Archbishop Kaigama said: "The fact that our security forces are unable to identify 'the abductors' is disconcerting and suggests that they do not make much effort to ensure security. This goes on and on and we are always told the same story."

The archbishop said there is an urgent need for the Nigerian government to address this situation by training security agents to act more effectively, and urged authorities to invest in buying sophisticated equipment, prosecute criminals, and improve the training of security personnel.

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