By Steve Oko
Catholic Church priest and Deputy Registrar of Spiritan University Umunneochi, Abia State, Rev Father Chinedu Nwadike; and a seminarian who were abducted on Friday along the Okigwe- Umunneochi axis of the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway , have regained their freedom.
The victims according to reports regained their freedom Sunday evening, although it was made public Monday evening.
Their abductors suspected to be herders on rampage around Umunneochi/Okigwe axis, had reportedly demanded N50 million ransom shortly after their abduction.
The news of their release was said to have been broken by a relation of the priest, Abuchi Anueyiagu, on his Facebook page.
Anueyiagu, however, said their release was not without ransom.
“Do kindly rejoice with us, Rev Fr Dr Chinedu Nwadike, Cssp, has eventually regained freedom. He and the seminarian, Emmanuel, were released Sunday evening unhurt to the glory of God. We express our grateful appreciation for your prayers. May God bless you.
“Pix shows the priest (right) and the seminarian when they were released to go home, though not without payment of a ransom anyway before they were freed.”
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO in charge of Abia State, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said he was not yet aware of the release.
He also said he could not confirm whether or not the Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, in charge of Umunneochi Divisional Police station, abducted earlier on Thursday had been killed.
Rumour was rife Monday that the police officer had been killed by his captors even after the family had also allegedly paid a ransom of N4 million.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a daily routine around Umunneochi-Okigwe axis since after the Kidnap of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Bishop Samuel Uche.
Bishop Uche and two clerics traveling with him were subsequently released after a N100million ransom was paid.
The cleric had said that his abductors were Fulani herdsmen .
About two weeks ago, bandits blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway way between Leru and Ihube cashew plantation and abducted all occupants of three vehicles.
People now live in fears around the area.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had earlier set up a special Security Committee on Umunneochi but the worsening insecurity in the area appears to have overwhelmed security agencies.