Reverend Father Marcellinus Okide, a Catholic priest, and six other motorists were kidnapped by gunmen believed to be Fulani herders in separate incidents across Enugu State.
They were taken just 24 hours after six people were abducted and a middle-aged man was slain in Enugu State on Saturday.
Fr. Okide, a parish priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Amofia-Agu Affa in Enugu State’s Udi local government area, was abducted on Sunday evening at 5:00 pm while travelling back to his parish along Eke-Affa-Egede Road.
His kidnapping has been confirmed by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu State, which has asked Christians to pray for his safety.
In a statement, the Diocesan Communication Director, Rev. Fr. Anthony Aneke, who also confirmed the man’s kidnapping, bemoaned the rise in insecurity across the state, the South East, and the entire nation. He made an appeal to the government and security agencies to uphold their duties and always ensure the safety of Nigerians.
Fr. Okide was abducted in Nigeria on the Eke-Egede-Affa Road at around 5:00 p.m., according to Fr. Aneke.
“The diocese has fervently requested prayers from the faithful and the general public in the hopes that Fr. Okide may be released quickly and safely. They are also requesting a change of heart on the part of the abductors. This upsetting incident underscores the region’s continuous kidnapping problem.
The Diocesan Chancellor and Secretary, Rev. Fr. Wilfred Chidi Agubuchie, made the appeal, pleading with the Lord to intervene to rescue Fr. Okide from his captors and protect the nation of Nigeria. The tragedy serves as a sobering reminder of the nation’s security problems and the requirement for coordinated efforts to overcome them.
Separately, kidnappers who lay siege to the road for several hours without resistance killed a middle-aged man named Sunday Nwa Ugwuja and critically injured several others on Saturday night along Edem-Nrobo-Ezikolo-Abbi Road in Uzo-Uwani Council.
On Saturday night, it was said that Sunday, who was from the Ezikolo Abbi community’s Apapam village, was travelling to Nsukka when the gunmen attacked them and killed him.
According to reports, the shooters shot their car repeatedly in an attempt to get it to stop, but the driver was able to keep going.
He was pronounced dead owing to blood loss on Sunday at Bishop Shanaham Hospital, Nsukka, by sympathisers who reportedly raced there while they were driving to safety.
However, it was reported that one man who raced towards the shooters was shot in the hand, while another man and his family narrowly avoided dying as they arrived at the scene of the crime.
To this occurrence, the Enugu State Police have not yet responded.
DSP Daniel Ndukwe, the State Police Public Relations Officer, did not respond his calls.
To ensure the release of the Catholic Priest and other victims, Udi Police Division agents are reportedly scouring the region.