Members of St. Michael Catholic Church, Obajana, Kogi State, have expressed concerns about the safety of their kidnapped priest, even as they have failed to raise the N8m ransom demanded by the kidnappers.
The parish priest of St. Michael Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Leo Michael, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen, and his abductors had given the Parish up until Thursday afternoon (today) to pay the N8m ransom or risk having the victim relocated.
The Diocesan Chancellor, Lokoja Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Peter Adinoyi, confirmed the kidnap to newsmen in Lokoja on Thursday.
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He said that the priest was returning to Obajana from Okene when he was kidnapped on a spot at Irepeni village, Okene-Lokoja road.
According to him, the matter has been promptly reported at the Irepeni Police State.
He added that the Army and the Directorate of the State Security were also aware of the development.
However, Adinoyi said that the kidnappers on July 25 called some members of the church to demand a N50m ransom for the release of their priest.
He said that the kidnappers later reduced the ransom to N20m and further reduced it to N8m.
Adinoyi said that the kidnappers gave the church up till 1:p.m. of July 26 to pay the ransom and threatened to relocate the priest should the church fail to meet the deadline.
He said that the church was unable to meet the deadline for the payment of the ransom demanded, calling on the security agents to assist in rescuing the cleric from his abductors.
Adinoyi also decried the incessant kidnapping of the less privileged in the state, describing the situation as “unfortunate.”
The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, DSP William Aya, said that he was not aware of the incident and promised to find out and call back.
However, he has yet to return our call as at the time of filing this report.