Gunmen on Monday kidnapped a Catholic Bishop, the Auxillary Bishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Moses Chike alongside his driver at the World Bank area of Owerri, the state capital and whisked them away to an unknown destination.
But hours later, the vehicle of the kidnapped Catholic Bishop and his priestly regalia was found in front of the archdiocesan headquarters in Owerri.
A statement released by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria said the Archbishop of the Diocese, Victor Obinna, confirmed the kidnap.
The statement signed by Secretary-General of the Secretariat, Zacharia Sanjumi, called for prayers for the safe return of the cleric.
As of this morning, there has been no official reports of any correspondence with the kidnappers.
The Police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident when contacted by our correspondent late Monday
Ikeokwu said though no official complaint of the kidnapped Catholic Bishop had been reported at any of the police formations in the state, the state commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, had activated the tactical units of the command to rescue the kidnapped bishop.
He said the CP had ordered the anti-kidnapping and Quick Intervention Units of the command to ensure the quick release of the victims.
The priest who belongs to the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy (SMMM), congregation, Umuahia, was later released by his kidnappers
The kidnap comes barely a week after the kidnap in the state of another Catholic cleric, Valentine Ezeagu. The priest was kidnapped on December 15 by gunmen, as he was on his way to bury his late father.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja earlier decried the high rate of kidnappings and deaths in Nigeria, calling for the government to take more security measures.
“The incidents of killings and kidnapping currently going on in Nigeria is now posing a significant threat to all the citizens,” he said in a Facebook post Dec. 15.
“Right now, insecurity is the greatest challenge facing the nation. The level of incidents and the apparent impunity have become unacceptable and cannot be excused, for whatever reason,” he said.