Mere Anglicanism

Archbishop’s kidnappers captured

Three men suspected of having kidnapped the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Church of Nigeria were arraigned last week before a magistrate in Port Harcourt, the Department of State Security (DSS) reports.

Three men suspected of having kidnapped the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Church of Nigeria were arraigned last week before a magistrate in Port Harcourt, the Department of State Security (DSS) reports.

The three men, Chibueze Nwaogba, Onyedikachi Emmanuel Okoro and Philip Chikaodiri Ogbuewu have been charged with 17 counts of kidnapping, the Niger Delta State Director of the DSS, Mr. Apok Nyam, said on 17 April 2014. The Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, Bishop of Niger Delta North, Archbishop of the Province of the Niger Delta and Dean of the Church of Nigeria, was one of almost 20 prominent people seized by the gang, Mr. Nyam said. The three have been bound over and will appear before the courts on 1 September 2014.

On 6 Sept 2013 while driving to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting of the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee, the archbishop’s car was stopped on the round at approximately 10:30 pm by gunmen in Eleme.  The kidnappers seized the archbishop and fled into the bush, abandoning the car Mrs. Kattey.

The archbishop was freed a week later, but the circumstances of his release were not made public at the time. At an 8 September 2013 press conference in Port Harcourt, the Ven. Richard Opara, president of the diocesan clergy council said the church would not pay a ransom. “We will not pay any ransom. Ransom payment is not in our dictionary. We are only asking for his unconditional release. We are not happy and the Church of Nigeria is weeping because the number two man has been taken away,” the archdeacon told the press conference.”

However, the Rivers State Director of the DSS said a ransom of N10 million ($60,000) was paid to the kidnappers for the release of the archbishop.  

Archbishop Kattey was the third bishop to be kidnapped in three years in Nigeria. In September 2010, the Bishop of Ngbo, the Rt. Rev. Christian Ebisike’s car was stopped at a roadblock as he was driving to Owerri. The next day the bishop was released by his abductors on the Ontisha – Owerri road.  It is not known if a ransom was paid. On 24 Jan 2010 the Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, Bishop of Benin was also kidnapped at his home in Benin City, the capital of Edo State in Southern Nigeria. A ransom of $330,000 was demanded, and the bishop was released unharmed four days later.  Church leaders declined to state whether the ransom was paid.

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