A Catholic priest, Arinze Madu, has been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Enugu State.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Madu, a Vice-Rector at the Queen of Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi-Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, was kidnapped at the gate of the institution on Monday.
His kidnap comes barely two months after two Catholic priests of Enugu Diocese were kidnapped and killed.
The Director of Communication, Enugu Catholic Diocese, Benjamin Achi, confirmed the kidnap.
Mr Achi, a reverend father like the victim, described the incident as terrifying.
“This incident is coming barely two months after Rev. Fr. Offu was gruesomely killed by gunmen at Ihe-Agbudu road in August. This year alone, two priests have been killed while three escaped.”
The cleric recalled that Clement Ugwu, a reverend father of the St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, was kidnapped in his house on March, and was later found dead.
“On August 2, 2019, Rev. Fr. Paul Offu was killed by another gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
“Before Fr. Offu’s murder, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Ilo was attacked by Fulani Herdsmen along Numeh-Nenwe road in Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state,” he said.
The police spokesman in the state, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the kidnap incident.
He said the command was on the trail of the abductors with a view to freeing the cleric.
“The Enugu State Command of the Nigeria Police Force through its operatives has intensified manhunt on the abductors of Rev Fr Arinze Madu of the queen of apostles seminary school, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State with a view to liberating victims unhurt and arresting suspects.
“It was gathered that the priest was allegedly abducted on October 28 at about 5.50 p.m. near the gate of the seminary located at Imezi owa as he was driving out of the seminary premises after suspected hoodlums had allegedly fired sporadically,” Mr Amaraizu said.
Reacting to the development, the Enugu State Government “expressed deep concern about the unfortunate incident” and charged the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ensure that the priest was rescued unhurt.
The state government added that it “will leave no stone unturned to make sure that he regains his freedom.”
The government reassured the people of its “commitment to continue to make the state safe and to sustain the enviable status of Enugu as one of the safest and most peaceful states in Nigeria.”
It, therefore, urged members of the public to remain calm and to go about their normal businesses while “government will continue to support the security agencies to secure lives and property of the people.”
It would be recalled that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration only recently procured and distributed security patrol vans equipped with communication gadgets to the security agencies in the state to aid their operations.
The state government equally procured 260 vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles respectively which will soon be distributed to Neighbourhood Watch groups and Forest Guards for community policing.
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