Catholic Priest Abducted By Gunmen in Okpella, Nigeria Regains Freedom

by Samuel Abasi Posted on September 30th, 2017

The Parish Priest of St. Benedict Catholic Church, Iddo II, in Okpella, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, who was abducted on Wednesday has been released. The Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Dunia, confirmed his release to reporters today, Saturday, adding that no ransom was paid. Adorolo was abducted along the Auchi-Okene highway at about 6pm while returning to his parish from Igarra in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area.

Prior to his abduct, he was said to have attended an event, “Month Mind,” of the oldest priest of the Auchi Catholic Diocese, late Fr. Lawrence Balogun, at St. John Apostolic Church, Igarra.

‎Adorolo was whisked away by the gunmen while he was driving in his Mercedes 350 ML car along with a boy who accompanied him.

It was, however, gathered that the Catholic priest was released on Friday night and was spotted at about 10pm in a community near Auchi.

Bishop Dunia stated that the abductors asked for food before they released the priest along with a company driver, identified as one Kenneth, who was allegedly abducted in Enugu State.

“That (Adorolo’s release) is true. They (abductors) called one of us to come and take him. But they requested food so that they could eat and go for another operation; since that one (priest’s abduction) was a failure and they didn’t get any good thing from it.

“They were actually given the food and they released him along with one Kenneth from Enugu State. We brought them home and cared for them.

“This (Saturday) morning, Kenneth left.”

He said though the priest was not tortured, he was traumatised.

The Catholic Bishop, however, blamed the incident on bad governance, even as he alleged that the Police did not show enough commitment to rescue the priest.

But Bishop Dunia said, “We felt very disappointed at the government of Nigeria, which is a platform for all kinds of people to perpetuate evil with reckless abandon.

“If the government of Nigeria were to be good, all these nefarious activities would have disappeared naturally.

“They (police) were to play a role, but they didn’t. They assured several times (but) the commissioner failed to pick my calls until I sent him a message that I was disappointed.

“He later replied that he was sick. The area commander assured me that he was on ground but he was just paying lip service to it; it was only God that made the people (abductors) to make a U-Turn and release the priest.”

Gunmen Abduct Catholic Priest in Okpella, Nigeria

At a press conference held in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Dunia, on Thursday confirmed the abduction of a priest, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, by unknown gunmen.

Gabriel Dunia confirmed the abduction at a press conference held in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.

According to the bishop, the priest was abducted along the Auchi-Okpella highway on Wednesday evening.

“Rev. Fr. Adorolo was on his way back from Auchi to his parish, St. Benedict Catholic Church, Okpella, when he was abducted by unknown gunmen at the bad spot near Okpella at about 6.00pm on Wednesday evening,” he said.
The bishop condemned the act, saying that the abductors committed an abominable act by keeping a priest who offers selfless service to God and humanity for ransom.
“The abductors have made contact with the church for ransom. The church does not pay ransom, as it is not a profit-making organisation,” he said.

Photo: Roman Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo

He called on security agencies to ensure unconditional release of the priest.

“The diocese is calling for an unconditional release of the priest. We are holding a mass for the unconditional release of the priest,” he said.

Police Arrest 5 For Shooting Catholic Priest Inside Lagos, Nigeria Church

Lagos, Nigeria. Sept 9th: Spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, in a statement today announced the arrest of five suspects in connection with the shooting of a Rev. Father, Daniel Nwankwo, at St. Thomas Catholic Church, Onilekekere, Ikeja, Lagos.

ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, in a statement said the suspects are being interrogated for vital information to aid Police investigation:

“During early morning mass at St Thomas Catholic church Onilekere, Cement B/Stop Ikeja, some hoodlums posing as worshipers at about 8:30 a.m., requested to have a dialogue with Rev. Father Daniel Nwankwo who heads the parish. The Rev Father who unsuspectingly granted the hoodlums an audience outside the church auditorium for a yet-to-be determined reason was shot by one of the hoodlums who spoke fluently in Igbo language with a locally made pistol. The Rev. Father raised alarm, while the hoodlums jumped the fence and escaped toward an adjoining canal.”

Famous-Cole said the Rev Father was immediately taken to LASUTH for medical attention where he was being treated, and that is in stable condition.

ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole also said;

“The Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, was at the scene and spoke with a witness who confirmed that three assailants of Igbo background who were not known to be members of the church were seen having a conversation with the Rev. Father before he was shot. The CP has also visited the Rev Father who spoke with him and confirmed that the Rev Father is been given adequate medical care as he is recuperating fast. The commissioner also immediately ordered a crack team of detectives and operational officers from the police command who were dispatched to the scene and area leading to the canal where an eye witness confirmed the hoodlums ran toward.

“Five suspects have been arrested in connection with this act and they are currently being diligently interrogated for vital information to aid the Police investigation.

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State is advising the people of the State to be vigilant and security conscious at this time and must identify and report any strange faces & suspicious movement. He has also ordered the deployment of static Police Guard and instructed the Area Commanders and DPO’s to provide static police guard on a 24-hour basis in all Churches and Mosques across the state instead of only on Fridays and Sundays like it has been done in the past .

Imohimi has also assured the people that every asset of the command will be deployed to make sure these hoodlums that made an attempt on the Rev. Father’s life will be arrested and brought to book,”

Gunmen Shoot Catholic Priest Inside Lagos, Nigeria Church

Lagos, Nigeria. Sept 8th: Gunmen this morning (Friday) reportedly opened fire on the parish priest of St Thomas Catholic Church identified as Daniel Nwankwo, at Onilekere, Ikeja, Lagos according to a parishoner.

The parishoner, who simply identified himself as Valentine, said the assailant struck around 9am.

He explained that the victim had just finished attending to a church member.

“They were three in number. The men came into the church as if they were parishioners. When they arrived here, father was taking confession. As he was walking away, they approached him and told him they wanted N5,000 to pay the hospital bill of someone. Before you knew what was happening, they had shot him on the stomach.”

Photo: St Thomas Catholic Church Onilekere, Ikeja, Lagos

Another witness, anonymously, said the attackers scaled the fence after hitting their target.

Meanwhile, the suspected killers of Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo of the Orlu Catholic Diocese, Imo State, were on Thursday paraded by the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike. The prime suspect has been identified as a 32-year-old dismissed ex-Corporal Jude Madu, alleged of leading the abduction of the cleric.

The late reverend father came home from the Vatican in Rome for the burial rites of his father, Celestine Onunkwo, when he was abducted and killed.

Alleged Killers Of Nigerian Catholic Priest Home From Rome To Bury His Dad Paraded

The Imo State Police Command has paraded several men alleged to have been involved in the abduction and killing of one Reverend Father Cyriacus Onunkwo, in a Catholic parish in Orlu zone of Nigeria’s Imo State. The suspects are alleged to have been involved in other  armed robbery and abducting activities as well according to police.

Reverend Father Cyriacus Onunkwo was abducted and killed  when he returned from the Vatican in Rome to plan for the burial of his late father.

Photo: Alleged Killers Of Nigerian Catholic Priest Home From Rome To Bury His Dad Paraded

The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, while briefing the news men said that Imo state under his watch must enjoy peace in all areas of life. He also pledge to support his men where necessary to ensure efficiency in delivery of their constitutional duties.

The suspected abductors of the popular Christian musician Evangelist Chinedu Nwadike were also paraded at the state police command headquarters.

Nigerian Catholic Priest Home From Rome To Bury His Dad. Abducted. Killed

The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike has confirmed the reported abduct and murder of a Roman Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo who reportedly returned from Rome to bury his late father. Mr. Chris Ezike also said the priest’s corpse has been recovered.

“The matter was properly reported to the police and we went into action. Less than 24 hours after, the Orlu Divisional Police Officer, DPO, reported the discovery of an abandoned corpse in its area of jurisdiction”, Ezike said.

According to the Imo police boss, priests of Orlu Catholic Diocese were called in immediately and they identified the corpse as their priest.

“Although we are working on all leads over the matter. For now, it is a clear case of abduction and murder. If it was a case of abducting, his captives would have put a call across to anybody close their victim and made a demand”,Ezike said.

Answering a question, the CP said that “although nobody has been arrested in connection with the crime, we are investigating it”.

Photo: Late Reverend Father Cyriacus Onunkwo while in Rome

Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo, a Catholic priest was abducted on Friday morning from his vehicle in the town of Orlu, in the state of Imo, located in the southeast of the country. His body was discovered the next day in the neighboring village of Omuma. The police also found the priest’s car, and said nothing had been taken, and so far, no arrests have been made.

Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo is the second Catholic priest to be murdered in Nigeria this summer. In July, Father Raphael Pankyes was killed by three men in Plateau State, located in the center of the country.

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