Two Catholic Priests have been reportedly abducted by gunmen in Edo State.
The Priests, Rev. Fathers Udo Peter and Philemon Oboh, of St. Patrick Catholic Church Uromi and St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Ugboha, respectively of the Catholic Diocese of Uromi, were said to be travelling from Benin to Uromi in Esan South-East Local Government Area, when they were abducted along the Benin-Auchi-Benin road on Saturday. The incident has thrown the churches’ members into fear over the safety of their clergymen.
It was not clear if the gunmen had made any contact with the church or the families as of this time, Sunday evening.
When contacted, the Catholic Bishop of Uromi Diocese, Bishop Donatus Ogun, could not be reached but his aid said he was in a meeting.
“I cannot give any information on the issue. The bishop is in a meeting,” the aide stated.
Also, a childhood friend of Fr Oboh, Mr. Fred Itua, says that Oboh is a religious priest, who contrary to popularly held views, doesn’t have money.
He said, “His abduction is unfortunate and disheartening. We can only appeal to his abductors to set him free. It’s an appeal. This is very traumatising,” Itua said.
All efforts to get the reaction of the Edo State Police Command, failed as the spokesman of the Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, was yet to respond to inquiries on the matter.
Also, a Catholic priest popularly known as Rev. Father Christopher Odia was Kidnap last Sunday at Ikabigbo Community, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, and was later found dead after a few hours in the bush.
Meanwhile, the family of the slain abducted Catholic priest of Ikabigbo, Fr Odia, had debunked media reports that her mother, Philomena Odia Ogedegbe was dead.
The family in a statement signed by the late priest’s elder brother, Comrade Robert Ogedegbe, said contrary to the false report, their mother was healthy and mourning her son.
Besides, the statement said Kebiru, the arrested Fulani man, who masterminded the kidnap and killing of Fr. Christopher Odia, was neither his gardener nor gateman.