Again, gunmen kidnap Catholic priest in Enugu
By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu
Gunmen have struck again in Enugu, kidnapping another priest, Rev. Fr. Arinze Madu.
This came barely two months after a Roman Catholic priest was abducted and killed.
Fr. Madu is the vice rector, the Queen of Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi-Owa, in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu state.
Sources hinted that he was kidnapped at the gate of the institution on Monday.
The Enugu state police command, which confirmed the development, through the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, said it was tracking the kidnappers.
“Yes, the priest was kidnapped on Monday, while he was coming out from his school located at Imezi-Owa in Ezeagu local government area.
“But I can assure you that the police, in collaboration with the army and local vigilante groups, are combing the forest in the area,” he said.
Also speaking on the incident, the Director of Communication, Enugu Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, described the incident as “terrifying”.
He added that “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.”
He also recalled that Rev. Fr. Clement Ugwu of the St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu state, was kidnapped in his house in March; and was later found dead.
“On August 2, 2019, Rev. Fr. Paul Offu was killed by other 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 lamented.
The Enugu state command of the Nigeria Police Force, says it has intensified efforts to rescue Rev. Father Arinze Madu, who was abducted by unknown hoodlums Monday evening, near the gate of Queen of Apostles Seminary School, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu local government area.
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.”
Orient Weekend recalls that 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 two hundred and sixty vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles, to be distributed to neighbourhood watch groups and forest guards for community policing.
Meanwhile, the police say it have intensified efforts to rescue the priest.