NIGERIA: Kidnapped Priest of Warri Diocese Released

WARRI, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 (CISA)– Fr Christopher Ogaga, Parish Priest of Emmanuel Catholic Church in Nigeria’s Delta State,  who was kidnapped on September 1, has  been released.

Fr Christopher was released Wednesday, September 5 after spending four days in the rain without food and water.

“As soon as they understood that nobody would pay the ransom, they released him,” confirmed Fr Clement Abobo the diocesan Secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Warri.

Fr Clement said he had visited Fr Ogaga in hospital where he is undergoing some tests and confirmed that he is in good health even although he was held in the open with no food or water.

He also reiterated that there were no religious motives behind the kidnapping.

According to Vatican News, Fr Christopher was abducted on Saturday evening as he travelled from Okpe to Warri, where he was scheduled to celebrate Mass at Mother of Redeemer Catholic Church on Sunday morning.

The kidnappers reportedly asked for a ransom of about $40,000.

For years, priests and religious have been targets of kidnapping for ransom by criminal gangs in Nigeria, even in predominantly Christian areas like Delta State.

In January, the Nigerian Bishops criticized “…the plague of kidnappings for ransom that has reached unimaginable proportions”.

“Day after day citizens are kidnapped, humiliated and traumatized by heavily armed gangs. The kidnappers are merciless. In their efforts to obtain large sums of money they subject their victims to unspeakable violence lasting weeks or even months,” they said in their statement and further prohibited the payment of ransoms for the release of priests and religious.