N100m ransom paid for my freedom — Abducted Methodist prelate

Methodist Church Prelate Samuel Kanu-Uche

Prelate of the Methodist Church Samuel Uche on Tuesday said the church paid N100 million as ransom before he was released.

Uche said at a press conference in Lagos that the money was arranged in five sacks of N20 million each.

The clergyman alleged that neither the federal nor state government, nor security agencies intervened.

Uche and two others were abducted on Sunday on their way from a programme in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.

The two others are the bishop of Owerri, Dennis Mark, and the prelate’s Chaplain, identified simply as Shitti.

Spokesperson of the police in Abia State Geoffrey Ogbonna confirmed their release to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Monday.

Asked if they paid any ransom, Ogbonna, a superintendent of police, said: “I can only confirm to you that they have been freed this evening. I don’t have the details for now.”

President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed a law criminalising the payment of ransom in the case of kidnap.

Presbyter, Methodist Church Nigeria, Wesley Cathedral, Umuahia, Aaron Akabuokwu, had described the abduction of the prelate as a sacrilege and national embarrassment.

“It is sacrilegious, an abomination and height of national and international embarrassment. It is regrettable that a man of such calibre could be whisked away into the bush all for the sake of money,” Akabuokwu said.