Kidnap epidemic: Gunmen abduct Kwara bishop, wife, driver, Plateau CAN chairman, monarch, keep 74-year-old don
Hoodlums demand N70m ransom
The Anglican Bishop of Jebba Diocese, Kwara State, Rt. Rev. Oluwaseun Aderogba, and his wife have been abducted by gunmen.
His driver was also taken by the hoodlums who struck on the new Oyo-Ogbomoso Expressway in Oyo State.
The bishop and his wife were said to be travelling from Yewa, Ogun State, to Jebba, Kwara State, when their car developed a fault at a lonely section of the road around 8.30pm on Sunday.
Before long, the gun-wielding hoodlums swooped on them and dragged them into the forest.
Sources said their abductors demanded a ransom of N50m.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the bishop’s chaplain, Rev. Adekunle Adeluwa, escaped from the hoodlums.
Adeluwa explained that they were ambushed by the gang after their vehicle developed a fault few kilometres to Oyo State.
He said, “I was lucky not to be visible to the kidnappers because of the black cassock I was wearing in the dead of the night.
“The place was dark, so I laid flat on the ground and hid while the abductors marched the bishop, his wife and the driver into the bush.”
The Kwara Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) condemned the kidnap.
The Arch Bishop of the Province, Most Rev. Israel Amoo, in a statement in Ilorin, lamented the incessant killing, abduction and kidnap of innocent Nigerians.
He called on the President, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (retd), the Inspector General of Police, and the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State to work towards the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped bishop, his wife and driver.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the abduction in a statement on Monday, adding that the command had swung into action to free them.
“The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations of the command is in charge of the rescue operation that has commenced since 9pm on Sunday,” the statement added.
In a related development, the Catholic priest at St. Anthony’s Parish, Angware, in the Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau State, Rev. James Kantoma, has been kidnapped by gunmen.
Kantoma, who is also the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the council, was abducted in his house on Sunday.
A resident of Angware community, Silas Joshua, confirmed the cleric’s abduction to PUNCH Metro on Monday.
Joshua said, “When the gunmen arrived in the community at night, they moved straight to the house of the reverend father.
“Some youths in the area, who were alerted, tried to stop them and even gave them a hot chase into the bush, but the gunmen started shooting and eventually took the reverend father away.”
The state Chairman of CAN, Polycarp Lubo, described the incident as sad.
He said, “Since the gunmen took the reverend father away, we have not heard anything either from him or the abductors. But we are praying for him that no harm will befall him wherever he is. But for how long shall innocent citizens continue to be kidnapped without anything being done to address the problem?”
The state police spokesperson, Alabo Alfred, said the command was aware of the incident and had deployed officers and men from the anti-kidnapping unit to the community.
In a similar development, gunmen, suspected to be bandits, kidnapped a Plateau State traditional ruler, Ugoh Ababs.
The bandits took the monarch on Sunday when they invaded his palace in Amo district, in the Bassa LGA of the state.
Ababs is the paramount ruler of the Amo ethnic nationality.
PUNCH Metro gathered that some vigilantes who were alerted to the presence of the bandits rushed to his palace to rescue him, but were overpowered by the gunmen, who fired gunshots and escaped into the bush with the traditional ruler.
A resident, Emmanuel Yakubu, said after the bandits took the monarch away, they called one of his relatives in the palace on phone and demanded N20m as ransom.
The spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, Alfred, said he would get back to our correspondent after reaching out to the Divisional Police Officer in the area.
He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Government has described the recent abduction of a former Chief Medical Director of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Uwadinachi Iweha, as barbaric and unfortunate.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo, in a statement, said the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, was pained by the “dastardly act given the age and fragility of the health of this distinguished Abian.”
Iweha, a 74-year-old Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, was kidnapped a week ago in his country home in Umuajameze Umuopara in the Umuahia South LGA of the state.
Chikamnayo, in his statement, assured that the government would deploy all necessary measures and resources to secure the release of the don.
“We, therefore, appeal to all citizens to remain calm and maintain the peace while we diligently do the needful,” he added.
Abia sets up situation room, Kaduna police kill one
Meanwhile, Governor Ikpeazu has authorised the immediate constitution of a special security situation room.
The Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, said this was “to give immediate effect to the decisions reached after his consultation with stakeholders” on kidnapping in the state.
Also, a combined team of the Nigeria Police Operation Puff Adder and that of the Nigerian Army, Operation Thunder Strike, have foiled a kidnap attempt by suspected bandits along the Abuja-Kaduna highway.
The security operatives also killed one of the bandits.
The Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Jalige, who disclosed this in a state on Monday, said the bandits were intercepted on Sunday in the area, where an exchange of fire ensued.
The encounter, he said, forced the bandits to retreat into the forest with gun wounds while one of them was killed.
Jalige also said upon the search of the general area, an AK-47 rifle and nine motorcycles were recovered.
A security expert, Lt. Col. Folusho Saka (retd), advised the government to adopt technological gadgets and reorganise the local security apparatus to tackle kidnapping in the country.
He said, “What is needed to fight insecurity is basically technology and decentralisation of the nation’s security apparatus starting from the grassroots.
“In other climes, especially in the West, you see the use of gadgets to profile people, records are also stored electronically. Here, everything is politicised.
“Again, the government needs to invest in technology and the local population to get information on those who are into criminal activities.”
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