By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Unknown armed men have reportedly kidnapped a Priest of the Otukpo Catholic Diocese, Reverend Father David Echioda, along with Allan Akpa community of Otukpo Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State.
Vanguard gathered that Father Echioda was kidnapped last Sunday while on his way from Utonkon in Ado LGA of the state where he had gone on missionary assignment.
According to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Priest who works with Minor Seminary Ochobo in Ohimini LGA of the state ran into the gunmen, while on his way back to his base, who seized his phones and also took him in his car to an unknown destination.
According to him, “after waylaying him, they collected all his phones and immediately smashed them.
“One okada rider (commercial motorcyclist) who ran into the scene was forced to stop and ordered to follow them. But while the Okada boy was trying to park his motorcycle that he jumped into the bush and escaped.
“It was the Okada boy that broke the news at the Bishop House in Otukpo. And as I speak with you, the kidnappers are yet to open contact with anyone while the whereabout of the Priest is still unknown.”
When contacted, the Director of Information, Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Father John Okopopu confirmed the development.
“It is true, the Father Echioda had gone to a parish that Sunday and on his way back at Alla-Akpa road, he ran into some men who kidnapped him. Unfortunately, the people are yet to contact his family or anyone,” Father Okopopu said.
The Benue Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene, confirmed the abduction of the priest.
It would be recalled that the Vicar General of the Diocese and priest in charge of St. Bernard Catholic Church Ugwu, Okpoga, in Okpokwu LGA of the state, Father John Adeyi was four years ago also kidnapped in a similar fashion and later murdered by his abductors.