Nigerian bishop ransoms six women held for debt

The Bishop of Lagos West has rescued six women held in a debtor’s prison. The Lagos press reported last month six women were patients at Ilogbo Central Hospital and had been held for up to two months after they were admitted for emergency care after having had a traditional midwife attend the birth of their child. The traditional healer had botched the procedure, necessitating emergency care from the hospital. However, the women’s families had abandoned them when the bills were presented for payment, the newspapers reported, with their husbands “absconding” from their creditors. The Rt. Rev. James Olusola Odedeji told reporters on 5 June 2015 the primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, drew his attention to newspaper reports airing the plight of the women. The bishop said he took it upon himself to pay the women’s bills out of “pragmatic evangelism”. “The meaning of pragmatic evangelism is the idea of touching lives, community involvement, social responsibility, idea of putting smiles on peoples faces. And in doing this, we need to be very practical as possible,” he explained. He investigated the situation and found the women had incurred bills they were not able to pay following emergency surgery. “Nothing is free” in Lagos, he stated, adding he applauded the hospital for admitting the women even though they had no means to pay the bill. “We have therefore come as a church to salvage the situation,” and had paid the women’s bill so the can “go home with their children.”

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