KADUNA – A Catholic priest, Reverend Leo Raphael Ozigi, who was kidnapped by terrorists three weeks ago, has been released.
Ozigi was ferried to a forest in Kaduna State after his kidnap from where he was eventually released Friday night.
N10m was, however, raised by his church in Minna, family and close associates and delivered to the terrorists.
Our correspondent gathered that after long negotiations between the bandits and Elders of the church, the huge sum of money was arrived at and a representative from the church was led by a delegation of the bandits to Birnin Gwari forest to deliver the amount to their ‘Commander’ after which the cleric was released.
A source told our correspondent that immediately the amount was paid in the forest, a signal was sent to the spot where the priest was being held to be released and led to Kaduna-Zaria Road on foot to unite with his church delegation who had also been directed by the bandits on the route to follow to pick him.
The source said the freed Reverend Father trekked several kilometers before he eventually reunited with his people along the road.
When asked of the whereabouts of the victim, the source declared, “The Reverend Father is now in a hospital receiving treatment. He was made to trek several kilometers to meet us and he is very weak and can hardly walk now. He has to be on bed rest and even go for physiotherapy”.
On whether ransom was paid and the exact amount paid, the source simply said, “Just help us thank God that he was released alive to us. Ransom was actually paid but, honestly, I don’t know the exact amount paid. Only the Bishop can tell you how much was paid.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Minna Diocese, Martins Uzoukwu, could not, however, be reached on phone to get further details as his line was switched off. (Sunday Vanguard)