Samuel Kanu Uche
The Methodist Prelate alongside his chaplain, Very Rev. Abidemi Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark were abducted on Sunday in Umunneochi LGA of Abia state.
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos on Tuesday, Uche narrated how he and other clerics paid N100m as ransom after they were abducted and tortured by ‘Fulani boys’ in Abia.
According to him, they were mercilessly beaten by the kidnappers who threatened to kill them until the church finally paid a sum of N100m to secure their release.
The clergyman, who revealed that their abductors were Fulanis, accused the Nigerian Army of being complicit in the kidnapping. He alleged that some army personnel from Fulani extraction were aiding the kidnappers in their activities.
Army Denies Complicity In Methodist Prelate’s Kidnap
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the incident was not reported to the Army Unit in the area of abduction, adding that the Army was not taken into confidence during the negotiation/payment of the ransom.
The Army said it “would take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation”
The statement reads, “The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.
“While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation, therefore, raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.
“Given the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area? Did the Methodist Church take the NA into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit. More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours. Was the ransom paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers.
“Moreso, the NA unit has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church. It is, therefore, important to state that troops are deployed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University, Uturu and no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.
“It must be clarified that troops’ deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation, hence the deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction who as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act is not our practice or modus operandi in the NA.
“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army, we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.”
KanyiDaily had also reported how a pastor identified as Venerable Olu Obanla and his son were kidnapped along Ifon-Okeluse Road in the Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.