A Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Azubuike, and three yet-to-be-identified persons who was abducted in Ebonyi State, has been set free.
Wakadaily gathered that Azubuike, the Parish priest of St. Charles Parish, Mgbaleze village, Isu community, in the Onicha Local Government Area of the state was kidnapped on Monday while returning from his evangelical duties.
The Chancellor of the Abakaliki Diocese, Rev Father Mathew Opoke, who earlier reported their kidnapped said, “Kindly pray for the unconditional release of Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Azubuike, who was abducted on Monday, July 10, 2023, close to his parish on his way back from pastoral duties.
“He was abducted alongside three other people. The abductors are making financial demands but with your prayers, we are going to have them back unconditionally.”
In a recent statement, Fr. Opoke confirmed their release on Tuesday night, he said the priest was released unconditionally even though the gunmen initially demanded an undisclosed amount of money as ransom.
“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Psalm 46:7.
“It is a thing of joy that God answered our prayers and gazetted the unconditional release of His servant in a very remarkable way.
We are grateful to God for effecting this release. We are grateful to all those who swung into action on hearing the ugly news of his abduction together with three other persons,” Father Opoke said.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a prevalent crime in most cities in Nigeria. Everyone, seems to be a target, including students, schoolchildren, and clergy.
A report by SB Morgan Intelligence, SBM, shows that over 39 Catholic Priest were killed, while 30 others were abducted by gunmen in 2022.