Posted by News Express | 18 July 2022 | 460 times
The Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu Uche, has spoken about his kidnapping, alongside his Chaplain, Jeremiah Abidemi Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, along Enugu-Port-Harcourt Expressway, Abia State last week.
According to him, N100million ransom was paid to their abductors to secure their release
The Chaplain, Shittu, in this conversation with Sunday Vanguard, provides harrowing details.
He said, “What happened was that we went for a national assignment and, as you may know, Methodist Church is like the Federal Government of Nigeria. So, we have our leader who is in charge of all churches in Nigeria and, anything we want to do, he has to perform what we call ‘safadocal’ work, which is his primary responsibility. So, we went to Umunochi, Nnochi Diocese, Abia State. We didn’t conclude the service because we had to hurry up to catch our flight from Owerri back to Lagos. Along the road, just after passing a police station and a security checkpoint, we saw some armed men, dressed in black. We thought they were Mobile Policemen.
“As soon as we passed them, the second set started shooting at us, we manoeuvred them but couldn’t manoeuvre the next set, as their bullet punctured our car’s tyres. We swerved into the bush and stopped. They ran to us and, as soon as we alighted from the car, they started firing at us. One of the bullets missed my head narrowly. When I ran back and opened the car for the Prelate, they caught him as he couldn’t run.
“Since they had captured our leader, I decided not to run because, as his Chaplain, I couldn’t leave him even if I had the chance of running away. They dragged us into a bush where we climbed one hill after the other barefooted as they ordered us to remove our shoes. It was in this process that our leader, being an elderly person, hit his head against a tree, and blood started gushing out, soaked his handkerchief and mine that I gave him. Even with that, we were not allowed to stop, rather, we continued trekking for over an hour.
The suit (brigade uniform) we wore, especially mine, tore into two. Our captors ransacked our bags, which they took from the car, taking everything. They also removed the Episcopal ring from the two Bishops (our leader and our host, the Bishop of Owerri). They removed everything that depicts the office of a Prelate and Bishop from them and also took my wedding ring, which I had never removed since I wedded 18 years ago. They wanted to cut my finger off and take it, put I pleaded with them to allow me remove it. Since those things are gold they took them alongside the cash we had on us, before talking about ransom,” he said.
He added that “first, they left us for about 7 hours. We were five initially but they shot two, we only prayed that the bullets did not hit them where they would die, and as such, able to escape. I think they were the ones that escaped to tell people about the incident. Their purpose of keeping us for over 7 hours was to create tension. They collected our phones, switched them off, until they were ready to negotiate. They switched the phones on, one after the other. One person would talk before the other phone is switched on for the other to talk.They told us that each of us will pay N50m but later reduced it to N40m. When we begged for N10m, they threatened to cut off our heads.
“They were torturing and threatening us. Finally, they said they would not take less than N100m.They said they couldn’t negotiate with any other person, but us. When our people wanted to reduce the money, they laid the Bishop down and wanted to cut off his head.We begged them, promising to pay,” he added.
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