By SAM EYOBOKA, SAMUEL OYADONGHA and EBUN SESOU
THE 17 Southern States CAN has condemned the kidnapping of the Dean Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) the Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, Archbishop Archbishop Ignatius Kattey in Port Harcourt, Rivers State last weekend.
In a statement signed by the General Secretary of the regional group, Rev. Joesph Ajujungwa, CAN enjoined all Christian faithful in the region and across the nation intensify their prayers for the archbishop’s unconditional release.
The statement noted that we cannot continue like this as a nation where people live in perpetual fear while evil people move about freely, adding that “we appeal to security operatives and law enforcements agents in the country to do everything possible to secure the release of the clergyman without any further delay.”
According to him, the spate of kidnapping in the country has reached an alarming rate and we hope that his captors will fear God and grant His servant freedom without any further delay.
“We are ready to mobilise Christians to the streets in protest if he is not released soon. How can the Church be suffering in the North and in the South clerics are becoming victims of kidnappers?” he asked calling on all Christians in the region to rise against this menace.
In a similar development, the head pastor of the Believers Love World, also known as Christ Embassy, Bayelsa State chapter, Pastor Joe Agbaje, has described the kidnapping of clergymen for ransom by unknown gunmen as evil and demonic manifestation.
Pastor Agbaje condemned the recent cases of kidnapping of clergy men in some parts of Delta and Rivers states, saying though the Church has embarked on intercessory prayers for the unknown gunmen and those they have abducted, the issues of kidnapping for ransom is a spiritual problem and must be tackled with prayers from religious leaders and believers in the country.
The pastor, while unveiling a programme of events by the church to celebrate the 53rd independence anniversary of Nigeria and the 17th anniversary of the creation of Bayelsa State, said the only way to stem the ugly trend of kidnapping is to intensify prayer and win back those involved to God.
He said though the country is witnessing security and harsh economic challenges, God is working to resolve the various knotty political and social issues.
The church, according to him, has set aside over N10 million worth of educational projects in Bayelsa State with the provision of furniture for schools, markers and white boards.
Similarly, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji also condemned the kidnap of Archbishop Ignatius Kattey and his wife.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Adebayo, Ikuforiji described the scenario as barbaric and dangerous to humanity.
According to him, the news of his kidnap is sad and highly unfortunate not only for Lagos State legislators but for Nigeria at large, noting that kidnapping of anybody at all is something that “ought not to occur in any civilized society today, not to even talk of kidnapping a man of God. The act of kidnapping Archbishop Kattey and his wife, Beatrice, is indeed a sacrilege that should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. Even in African parlance, such an act has always been considered as an abomination.
“The fact is that such an evil act is capable of tarnishing the image of our country and driving investors away from Nigeria. This in turn would increase poverty and backwardness in the land”, Ikuforiji added, observing that this unfortunate incident underscore the reason the lawmakers in Lagos State are calling for State Police in our polity since it has become obvious that the Federal Government alone cannot guarantee the security and safety of all Nigerians with a centrally-controlled policing system anymore.
Notwithstanding the sacrilegious act that they have already committed, those behind the dastardly act should show some mercy and human kindness on the man of God by releasing him without any further delay, he concluded.