Catholic priest escapes from kidnappers’ den in C’River
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Reverend Fr. Kizito Awok, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja in Cross River state, has miraculously escaped from men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, who allegedly kidnapped him and other victims last weekend in Enugu.
Rev. Fr Awok, who took to his Facebook wall to express his gratitude to the Almighty said the incident happened on Saturday along Enugu/Agwu expressway and that he and other victims were led into the bush by their abductors. He described his escape as ‘miraculous.’
“Our God is great! It was a miraculous escape from the hands of Fulani herdsmen yesterday. We were held hostage for about three hours in the forest, between Enugu and Agwu express way.
“Some of us escaped, while others were marched to the forest. How it happened was God’s intervention. Even with my fluent Hausa and Fulfude, they rejected my identity. Thank God for the soldiers, who kept shooting into the air, which gave some of us leverage for escape.
“The consistent shooting caused panic in their midst. Dear friends, pray for those still in captivity and those that died from their gunshots. God, you are wonderful,” he stated.
Security sources contacted confirmed the report. They added that men of the Nigerian army and other security agencies were mounting a charge into the forest to dislodge the herdsmen believed to be in their numbers and perpetrating criminal activities at the expressway.
As at the time of filling this report, Father Awok could not be reached for additional information on the incident.
Incidents of abduction of gospel ministers had been in the increase in recent time with not less than three ministers as victims.
Recall that Pastor Seyi Adekunle of the Living Faith Church, along IBB Way, was the first victim even as the dare-devils also laid their hands on the General Overseer of the Bible Christian Crusade Mission (BCCM), Pastor Joseph Okoro, who was abducted shortly after his Bible study programme at his church headquarters located at 55 Webber Street, Calabar-South.
Speaking on the incident, former chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Cross River, Archbishop Archibong Archibong, described the development as worrisome. He called on law enforcement agencies to make the job of protecting every Nigerian their priority.
According to him, any kidnapper, who targets ministers of the gospel, has come to his dead end, adding “God has warned through the scripture, ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm’. If, in your nefarious activities, you target ministers of the gospel, it means you have come to the end of the road.”