The Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, on Wednesday, decried an upsurge in the abduction and killing of Catholic Priests in the country.
Kachikwu in a statement in Abuja described the development as unacceptable and an unprovoked aggression against a section of the population dedicated to the service of God and humanity.
He insisted that the ugly development must be urgently nipped in the bud by the relevant security.
He recalled that no fewer than 18 Catholic priests have been abducted by terrorists with some of them killed between January and July this year.
He recalled that on June 26, 2022, a Catholic Priest in Edo, Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia, was abducted and later murdered.
He said the killing of Ordia was preceded by the abduction and killing of a Kaduna State-based Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, on June 25, 2022 by suspected terrorists.
He disclosed that on July 6, 2022, the priest presiding at Holy Ghost Parish, Eke-Olengbeche, Rev. Fr. Peter Amodu, was kidnapped by armed men along Otukpo Ugbokolo road, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Kachikwu said the latest incident was the killing of Reverend Father John Cheitnum, after he and his colleague, Reverend Father Donatus Cleopas, were kidnapped by bandits on July 16, 2022 by suspected bandits in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Fr. Cleopas was later released after an alleged payment of an undisclosed sum as ransom.
Fr. Cheitnum was the Director of Communications at the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan before he was abducted and subsequently killed.
He noted that Fr. Cheitnum was also the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Jema’a LGA of the state.
He said it was regrettable that over 3,478 Nigerians were reportedly killed with 2,256 abducted in seven months between December 2021 and June 15, 2022, despite repeated assurances by the Federal Government to halt the reprehensible trend.
He noted that according to a statement by the Church in Need, a global Catholic Charity Organization, “at least 18 priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of 2022, five in the first week of July alone. Although most were released unharmed, three were killed.”
Kachikwu who had earlier called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign his position on account of worsening insecurity in the country, also called on relevant security agencies to rise up to the challenge of insecurity in the country and ensure adequate security of Nigerians, especially Priests of the Catholic faith who have not only become vulnerable but an endangered specie.