By Emma Nnadozie & Tony Edike
ENUGU—ABOUT 100 Anglican priests in Enugu Diocese led by the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest over the abduction of 15 pupils of a private school in Aba, Abia State and handed down a three-day ultimatum to the kidnappers to release their victims or be cursed.
The priests, most whom were in black robes, said they would observe prayer and fasting on October 1, the Independence Day, to seek God’s intervention in the security crisis that was bedevilling Igbo land.
Addressing newsmen after the protest, Bishop Chukwuma warned that except something was done urgently to check the increasing state of insecurity in Aba and other parts of the South east, it would be impossible to conduct the 2011 elections in the area.
He said: “Enough is enough, the Federal Government must do something urgently otherwise, I’m afraid the entire city of Aba would be brought to its knees. Imagine the trauma these kids have been put through, what about their parents. What guarantee do we have that the kidnappers will take good care of these innocent children? We can’t continue like this.”
Urging the new Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to immediately send a crack squad to Aba to rescue the kids as well as fish out the perpetrators of “this crime against humanity,” Bishop Chukwuma also tasked the Federal Government to ensure that citizens of the country were adequately protected.
He said that since the new IGP served as the Assistant Inspector General of police in-charge of Zone 9 in Abia State, he ought to have the panacea to these incessant cases of kidnapping and armed banditry in the state and its environs.
Bishop Chukwuma said: “We should begin to rain curses on the kidnappers so that God will begin to deal with those of them who refuse to repent; security agents who are collaborating with the kidnappers should be sanctioned. We must let the leaders know that if you are rebranding Nigeria, kidnapping is a national disgrace. The people in the areas where these kidnappers are operating including traditional rulers must play their part in this regard by exposing the bad eggs within their communities.”
While declaring spiritual amnesty for the kidnappers in the South East with a call on them to come forward for deliverance, Chukwuma said any of them that genuinely repented would be given a good job and effectively rehabilitated.
Efforts by the police to fish out the kidnapped pupils of Abayi International School Aba, Abia State met brick walls following the inability of authority of the school to cooperate with the police.
Sources at the Force Headquarters told Vanguard that a team of Special Track Squad that was raised by the new Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim, with the directive to storm Abia and rescue the kidnapped children was thwarted by top officials of the school when they were urged to provide more information as regard to the incident.
Vanguard learnt that instead of providing the police with vital information, the school resorted to negotiating with the kidnappers with out carrying the police along.
It was learnt that both the Special Track Squad and police men on ground were groping in the dark as nobody was ready to give vital information to assist the police.
The IGP, Hafiz Ringim, was said to have renewed his directives to his men that they should not leave any stone unturned in finding the kidnappers and rescuing the pupils.
Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told Vanguard: “We are certainly leaving no stone unturned and we will soon achieve result.”