Heavily armed gunmen, on Sunday, kidnapped the auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Dr. Moses Chikwe.
Chikwe was taken away by the gun-wielding men along the World Bank – Umuguma road in the evening.
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He was said to be in the car with his driver when two of them were taken away.
It was gathered that the abductors later returned his car to Assumpta Cathedral later that same day.
The abductors were yet to make any contact.
Chikwe was consecrated bishop on December 12th, 2019.
Before he was appointed as the Auxiliary bishop by Pope Francis, he was the director of education of the Archdiocese, and collaborator of the Parish of St. Thomas More.
He was assigned as the Titular See of Flumenzer by Pope Francis.
Chikwe was ordained a priest by Archbishop Anthony Obinna in 1996.
CAN wants his unconditional release
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Imo State chapter has called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of abducted Auxiliary Bishop.
A statement issued by the Imo State chapter chairmam of CAN, Revd. Eches Divine Eches, strongly condemned the act and called for the bishop’s safe return to the church.
Eches described the act as “a desecration of the altar of God and we call on the perpetrators to release him immediately.
“Clerics play a major role in the development and security of any nation as we are called to always pray for the State and people at all times even when we do not agree with their position.
“For us in Imo, we have always stood in the gap for our people, and this has resulted in calm irrespective of the political currents.
“Most Rev. Chikwe since his assumption of office as the Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Of Owerri has discharged his duties quietly and without malice, which leaves one wondering why he is a target of kidnap.
“We call on his abductors to release him immediately unhurt and without ransom.
“The entire Christian community in Imo State call on the State Commissioner of Police to ensure the perpetrators of this act of wickedness are fished out to face the music.
“We appeal to our teeming youths not to allow themselves to be used by the devil to wreak havoc and fear in our beautiful State.
“While we commit to continually offer prayers and supplication to God for the people and State at all times, we request that lives and properties be made safe and that people can move about without fear and intimidation.”
The Police Command in Imo has assured family and friends of the abducted auxiliary bishop of Owerri Catholic Arch Diocese of his speedy release.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SP Orlando Ikeokwu, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), told journalists on Tuesday in Owerri that the police had swung into action to ensure the release of the cleric.
Ikeokwu called on Catholic faithful in Nigeria not to panic but to remain prayerful in the spirit of the yuletide and hope for Chikwe’s successful release.
“We urge everyone to remain calm in the face of this unfortunate situation.
“We also assure the general public that the auxiliary Bishop will soon be reunited with his loved ones.
“Our anti-kidnapping unit, led by CSP Linus Nwaiwu, has been mobilised to ensure he is freed and the suspects arrested,” the PPRO said.