Head of Nigerian Methodist Church, Samuel Kanu, Freed After Kidnapping
The head of the Nigerian Methodist Church, formally titled Methodist Prelate Samuel Kanu, was freed a day after he had been abducted along with two colleagues. The three men of the church were abducted by gunmen while driving from a program.
The abduction took place on a highway in the south-eastern Nigerian state of Abia. According to reports, a ransom of 100 million nairas ($240,000 USD) was requested by the kidnappers.
The ransom was paid within 24 hours of the abduction. Kanu said that the ransom was paid by the Nigerian Methodist Church in five bags of 20 million nairas each.
He further states that the gunmen who kidnapped him showed him a ditch with bodies of supposed past victims, telling him that his two colleagues would be killed if the ransom was not paid. Kanu made it clear that there was no intervention by the Nigerian government.
The abduction of Kanu has raised concerns in the Nigerian Methodist Church community. After the news of his kidnapping had broken, members of his church held hourly prayers seeking divine intervention for his release.
The Christian Association of Nigeria denounced the kidnapping, calling on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to act against the continued attacks and kidnappings taking place in Nigeria.
“If a great servant of God of Uche’s caliber could be kidnapped like a three-year-old baby on a major road without any resistance from the police, it speaks volumes of what our security architecture has become,” the association said.
Samuel Kanu of Nigerian Methodist Church Freed…
The southeastern region of Nigeria has been a hotbed of violent attacks and kidnappings. The Nigerian government has blamed these crimes on a group of separatists called the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB denies any involvement with the kidnapping of Kanu, with their spokesman Emma Powerful releasing a statement condemning it.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wish to condemn in its entirety the kidnapping of Methodist Church Prelate, His Eminence Samuel Kanu in Abia state. We see the kidnapping of [the] Methodist Church Nigeria leader as sacrilegious.
We are, therefore, calling on the kidnappers to unconditionally release the respected men of God, and his colleagues kidnapped alongside him, and we wonder what the abductors stand to achieve in kidnapping a prelate and his colleagues, who are neither politicians nor money bags,” a part of the statement read.
IPOB has repeatedly denied participating in these violent acts. According to reports, the IPOB has enforced orders for people in the region to sit at home on all Mondays. Allegedly, to enforce this stay-at-home order, the organization carries out attacks and abductions every Sunday to ensure people are afraid to leave their homes the following day.
Nigeria, located in West Africa and with the third-largest economy on the continent, has the largest population in Africa. The country has recently experienced safety and security issues.
It has most recently experienced trouble in various parts of the country by motorcycle-riding bandits, Islamist militants, and the above-mentioned gunmen. The bandits and Islamist militants largely operate in the northern regions of Nigeria, while the gunmen are in the southwestern parts. The attacks are non-discriminatory, affecting all, civilians, clergymen as well as politicians.