By Vatican News staff writer
In another unfortunate instance of the rising state of insecurity in Nigeria, at least eight children were abducted from an orphanage in Naharati, Abaji Area Council in Abuja on Saturday.
News reports say that at around 1:00 local time, a group of heavily armed men suspected to be Islamic extremist militants, stormed Rachel’s Orphanage Home located in the federal capital territory, heading directly towards the childrens’ dormitories. In addition to the children, the unidentified men reportedly also took away some employees of the orphanage.
In an interview with Gabriella Ceraso of Vatican News, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja, expressed his sorrow for the kidnapping and called for improved protection of Nigerian lives and property.
Worrying trend of insecurity
Archbishop Kaigama lamented the degeneration of the situation of security in the country. Particularly concerning to him is that the unfortunate incident took place in Abuja, the federal capital territory.
“One would have imagined that being around the federal capital territory one would be safer,” he said. “But we can see that even the children are not safe.”
In recent times, the phenomenon of kidnapping has become more commonplace. In some instances, those kidnapped included government officials and even some members of the clergy and religious.
“My priest was released some weeks ago”, Archbishop Kaigama said. “Other priests were not that lucky, they were kidnapped and killed.”
The kidnapping plague in Nigeria has been linked to jihadist armed groups and affiliates of organized crime, acting either with the aim of destabilizing the country or for financial benefit. On some occasions, the victims are kidnapped for ransom running into several thousand euros. However, in some others, they were killed or seriously injured.
Local Nigerian newspapers report that the gunmen who abducted the children from the orphanage have demanded a ransom to release their victims.
Appeal to the government
Addressing the Nigerian authorities, the Archbishop urged them to take steps to better ensure the protection of citizens as their lives and property are also important.
“When people are kidnapped, they feel alone. There is very little I see that the authorities are doing to remedy the situation. So, we continue to urge them that they should do their best.”
“We are helpless, we know as a religious people we trust in God and in His mercy, His compassion and protection, but our leaders have to do their duty. I am afraid not much is being done,” said Archbishop Kaigama.
The Archbishop went on to pray that “the criminal acts will stop very soon” and that people would be able to go about their daily businesses freely, without fear of molestation.