The Archbishop was held for nine days by kidnappers.
The Nigerian police lied when it claimed it helped free a kidnapped Anglican cleric, the cleric has said.
The Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglican Communion, Ignatius Kattey, was freed on September 14 after he was kidnapped on September 6 in Eleme, Rivers State. His wife, Beatrice, kidnapped at the same time with him, had been freed earlier.
The police had stated that it played a major role in the cleric’s release. The Rivers police spokeswoman, Angela Agabe, had claimed in an interview with Punch Newspapers that “the police eventually rescued him.”
But, while speaking to journalists on Wednesday at his home in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Kattey said the police’ stance was complete falsehood. He said he only saw the police on Monday after his releaseon Saturday night.
“The Police did not rescue me. They were not the ones who rescued my wife, Beatrice. I saw the police for the first time two days ago since the incident.
“I have heard the statements made by the Rivers Police Public Relations Officer. The police are telling lies. If you cannot trust the police again, then who can you trust? I told the Commissioner of Police and he has apologised,” the cleric, considered the second most ranking Anglican cleric in Nigeria, said, as reported by Punch.
“I know they made efforts, but they did not rescue me and my wife. A helicopter flew over the area more than 500 times, but the boys (kidnappers) were smarter. They held me in a thick forest and no one could see me there.
“On the day of my release, they moved me and we trekked a number of kilometres till we got to a road. Then they gave me N200 and ordered me to walk to the direction where I could get a motorcycle,” he added.
The cleric, who is also the Dean of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, said he “wouldn’t even wish my enemy to go through that experience,” and explained that he was not tortured by his captors.
He said he was fed on food once a day sometimes on roasted plantain (boli).
Mr. Kattey, however, said he was not aware whether or not a ransom was paid for his release; a statement similar to that made by popular human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, who was also released by his captors several days’ earlier in Edo State.
Mr. Kattey’s release had drawn widespread condemnation including by President Goodluck Jonathan who pledged to work with security agencies to guarantee his release.
Kidnapping has been on the rise in several states in Nigeria with many of the victims only freed after payment of millions of Naira as ransom.