Nigeria: Catholic priest abducted in Anambra
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
A priest with the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, Fr. Joseph Igweagu, has been kidnapped in Anambra State, eastern Nigeria.
The Archdiocesan Chancellor, Fr. Prudentius E. Aroh, made this known in a statement on Sunday.
Fr. Igweagu, the Parish Priest at St. Joseph’s Parish Abata Nsugbe, Anambra East Local Government Area, was reportedly kidnapped on the evening of Wednesday, 12 October,
He was returning to his house after celebrating a Funeral Vigil Mass in Umunachi in Njikoka Council area of the state when he was seized by his abductors.
The statement titled “An urgent call for sincere prayers” read: “It is with shock but strong faith in the love and protection of God that we announce to the Priests, religious, lay faithful of Onitsha Archdiocese and all men and women of goodwill, the abduction of our Priest Rev. Fr. Joseph Igweagu, the Parish Priest of St Joseph Parish Abata Nsugbe.
The Archdiocese of Onitsha solicits for prayers for his unconditional release and assures that it is doing everything possible to secure the freedom of Fr. Igweagu.
“While we pray for the conversion of his abductors, we call on our Mother Mary, the Undoer of Knots, to intercede on his behalf so that he will be quickly released unhurt,” the statement said.
The abduction of citizens, including members of the clergy, is not uncommon in parts of Nigeria.
According to a statement by Aid to the Church in Need, at least 18 priests had been kidnapped in Nigeria as of July, with 5 in the first week of July alone. There have been further reports of a few other abductions since then.
Many of these people are kidnapped for ransom and are released after they have been paid. However, some others are killed by their abductors.
Nigerian authorities say that they are employing urgent measures to ensure better protection of the lives and properties of citizens.