….. blame the presidency, the security agencies
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Monday criticized the federal government and security agencies for the increase in kidnappings and murders of Catholic priests who are now endangered species, as they have become easy targets for suspected bandits who increase their kidnappings. – ransom cases.
HURIWA National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko in a statement called on the Inter-Religious Council of Nigeria to speak out and condemn the persecution of Catholics in the country.
Recall that armed men kidnapped on Friday a Catholic priest and the assistant registrar of the Spiritan University of Nneochi, Father Chinedu Nwadike. The Imo native was abducted on the Umunnochi-Ihube road by the Enugu-Okigwe road alongside a seminarian, Emmanuel Nwafor. Their captors had since made contact with their relatives and issued them a ransom of 50 million naira, just as an unconfirmed report says they were released after 24 hours.
Reacting, Onwubiko said, “The recurrent murders and kidnappings of Catholic priests across the country are another strong sign of the failure of the regime of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired). This latest kidnapping for ransom occurred at the soldiers checkpoint and is the exact same connection between these kidnappers and the soldiers that emerged from the revelation of the prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria who was recently kidnapped and released for payment of the $100 million ransom, but the president did nothing to stop the soldiers involved in these daredevil crimes of kidnapping for ransom and that is why the Igbo youths who volunteered to protect Igboland under the auspices of the Eastern Security Network were crushed by soldiers only for the soldiers to actively collude with armed Fulani herders to kidnap travelers along the Lokpanta Highway along the Okigwe Federal Highway/ Enugu.
“It is worrying that despite the murder of more than 12 Catholic priests in 2022 and the kidnapping of dozens of Catholic priests across the country, the current regime and security agencies have allowed the ugly trend to continue.
“In addition to the latest kidnapping of Father Chinedu Nwadike, the Rev. John Mark Chietnum of Kafanchan Diocese at the Parish Rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church in Kaduna State was abducted and killed in July after bandits abducted him and other priests.
“Bandits also kidnapped and killed Kaduna State Polytechnic Catholic Community Chaplain and Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Catholic Diocesan Priests, Kaduna State Chapter, Vitus Borogo.
“In March, Reverend Father Joseph Bako of St John’s Catholic Church, Kudenda, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State was kidnapped and died in the kidnappers’ den.
“Tower Pr. Alphonsus Uboh of St. Pius X Ikot Abasi Parish in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was also abducted.
“Two Reverend Fathers and their domestic staff have also been turned away from their parish presbytery in Katsina under the Diocese of Sokoto, headed by the Very Reverend Doctor Mathew Hassan-Kukah, who has recently been subjected to massive verbal threats from of Islamists.
“Earlier, bandits kidnapped the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Kanu Uche, and he was only released after paying a ransom of N100 million. In fact, he revealed the identity of his captors as “Fulani herders” whose “cattle were very close” to where he was being held. He also impeached the army when he said the place where he was being held was not far from a military checkpoint.
“Terrorists killed over 40 Catholics during a Sunday service in Owo, Ondo State in June. Dozens more were injured in the ambush, which is one of the horrific terrorist attacks against Catholics in the country.
“HURIWA calls on the security agencies of the internal security institutions, all led by Muslims, to be guided by conscience and to end the targeted persecution of Catholics in the country. The Inter-Religious Council of Nigeria must also seize the moment and collectively condemn this heinous action.
“Muslim clerics must not stop but must speak out and condemn the massacre of Catholics by Fulani bandits. The conscience and the love of humanity must be above religious sentiments. Crime is crime and should not be deodorized. HURIWA will today send a petition to the Roman Catholic Pontiff Pope Francis and world leaders for the umpteenth time to intervene to stop the persecution of Christians in Nigeria by armed jihadist kidnappers.