Abuja – The Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, the Bishop of Ekiti Catholic Diocese, has called for the release of two Reverend Sisters and a Reverend Father who were kidnapped while on official assignment.
Ajakaye, in a statement sent to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, said that Rev. Fr. John Adeyi, the Vicar-General of Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, had been in captivity since Sunday, April 24.
The bishop said that two Sisters of St Louis, Rev. Sr. Perpetua Apo and Rev. Sr. Bukola Familade, and their driver, Mr Zwugwa Zibai, were also kidnapped on Thursday, May 12.
“For over three weeks, Rev. Fr. John Adeyi, the Vicar-General of Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, has been in captivity.
“According to the report, the humble Parish Priest of St Bernard Catholic Church, Okpoka, Okpokwu Local Government Area, Benue State, was kidnapped on a highway.
“He was returning from an outstation of the parish, where he had gone to celebrate the Holy Eucharist (Mass). He is the first Catholic priest from Otukpa,’’ he said.
Ajakaye said that since the abduction of Adeyi, there had been no information concerning his whereabouts.
“Last week, Thursday, May 12, two Sisters of St Louis, Reverend Sisters Perpetua Apo and Bukola Familade, and their driver, Mr Zwugwa Zibai, were also abducted.
“The three of them were travelling from Kaduna to Ijebu-Itele in Ogun State for a programme when their vehicle broke down at Kajola on Ore-Lagos road.
“They then called some Reverend Sisters in the neighbouring town for help. By the time the Sisters and others got to the scene, they found the vehicle but the three were nowhere to be found.
“It was later established that they had been abducted.
“These unfortunate incidents are not palatable at all. Indeed, apart from the two cases of abduction, there are other kidnap cases pending, both known and unknown,” he said.
Ajakaye appealed to all well-meaning Nigerians and the government to proffer practical and lasting solutions to the menace of abduction plaguing the country.
“We must stop chasing the shadows. Whenever somebody is abducted, it is sickening to hear state governors prepared to give millions of naira to anybody or group with any information on the whereabouts of the abducted persons.
“Let such governors look inwards and do the needful,” he said.
The cleric stressed that Nigeria ought to be habitable for all citizens, adding that the country should be “where there is true love, justice, peace, harmony and development”.
“In this light, I call on all well-meaning Nigerians to appeal to the abductors of all persons in captivity to release them.
“These include the abductors of Rev. Fr. John Adeyi, Rev. Sr. Perpetua Apo and Rev. Sr. Bukola Familade, and their driver, Mr Zwugwa Zibai.
“The Catholic Church, the Catholic Women Religious — all the Sisters of the different Religious Congregations — are pleading with their abductors to please release them.
`They should release them so that they can continue their humble service to humanity, as directed by God,’’ Ajakaye said. (NAN)