Nigeria: Parish priest kidnapped, another killed

Fr John Bako Shekwolo

Fr John Bako Shekwolo

Source: Fides

Another Catholic priest has been kidnapped in Nigeria. Fr John Bako Shekwolo was kidnapped on 25 March in his home in the village of Ankuwai, in the state of Kaduna, in central - northern Nigeria. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, Rev Father Daniel J Kyomm said: "We regret to announce that one of our priests, Rev Fr John Bako Shekwolo has been kidnapped by unknown persons. As we ask for the prayers of the faithful of our Archdiocese and beyond for the quick release of Fr Shekwolo, we appeal to the consciences of those who abducted him to kindly release him unharmed." Fr Shekwolo is the parish priest of the church of St Teresa of Ankuwa.

Rev John Joseph Hayab, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria said: "CAN condemns the abduction of Bako in its entirety. While we note that kidnapping in Kaduna State has become a big business, we appeal to the kidnappers to kindly release Bako unhurt."

"It is sad that Kaduna State has become the centre of kidnapping with government doing almost nothing to stop it. This shows there is governance failure, as far as security of lives and property is concerned. Government and security agencies must wake up to their responsibilities of protecting lives and property, which is the essence of government."

On 20 March, the body of Fr Clement Rapuluchukwu Ugwu, Priest of St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State was found shot dead. He was reportedly abducted on 13 March in his parish.

Mgr Callistus Onaga, Bishop of Enugu, decried the spate of violent killings around the country and appealed for prayers.

Bishop Onaga regretted that security agencies could not rescue Fr Ugwu. The police claimed they had tracked the kidnappers down as they were using Fr Ugwa's bank card to withdraw money from a cash machine.

"We reported it to the police and since then I have visited police station three times, yet they kept telling me 'we are closing in on the kidnappers'. I doubt they were doing anything because where the deceased body of Father Ugwu was found is not up to 20 kilometres from his house", said Mgr Onaga.

Tags: Nigeria, Kidnap, Fr John Bako Shekwolo, Fr Clement Rapuluchukwu Ugwu, Bishop Callistus Onaga

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