BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
UNKNOWN gunmen in Rivers State, on Friday night, abducted Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, the Dean of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria and Archbishop, Niger Delta North Diocese. The victim was said to have been whisked away with his wife, Beatrice, by the kidnappers around Aleto Bridge, Eleme at about 10.30pm while on his way to Port Harcourt.
Sources close to the archbishop said he was driving to Port Harcourt to pass the night there so he could be at the airport to receive the Primate of the church, Primate Nicolas Oko, who was due in the state Saturday.
The sources explained that Kattey had thought that yesterday’s sanitation exercise in the state that would have warranted restriction of movement would be in force; so he wanted to be at the airport quite early to receive the Primate who was coming to Rivers on Episcopal issues.
The sources said the kidnappers later abandoned the archbishop’s wife and his vehicle in the bush some distance away from where the abduction took place, adding that no contact had been established with the gunmen.
It could not be confirmed if Kattey drove himself that night but Sunday Vanguard gathered that he rarely moved around with security personnel. “He has a driver. But he does not move around with security escorts. He is such a simple and exemplary religious leader. I pray for his unconditional and immediate release”, a member of the Anglican Church in Port Harcourt pleaded.
When contacted, Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Angela Agabe, confirmed the ugly development, adding that efforts were on to rescue the archbishop. Agabe said the police gave the kidnappers a hot chase when they were alerted about the abduction; a situation she said forced the kidnappers to abandon the wife in the bush around Aleto.
According to her, the police had set up a crack search team, assuring that they would soon secure Kattey’s release.
“We are on top of the situation. Our men rescued the wife who was kidnapped with him last night. We are combing the bush and exploring other means to secure his release”, she said.