Gunmen have abducted a Catholic priest in the Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State. The priest, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, was the parish priest of St. Benedict Catholic Church in Okpella.
Fr. Adorolo was kidnapped about 6p.m. on Wednesday. His abduction was the second time in less than one week in the state.
The abductors are reported to have swooped on the cleric at a bad spot on Okpella Road while on his way back from Igarra.
Fr. Adorolo was said to be with other priests, who attended the ‘Month Mind’ of the oldest priest of the Auchi Diocese, the late Fr. Lawrence Balogun, at St. John Apostolic Church, Igarra, the headquarters of Akoko Edo Local Government Area.
He was driving his Mercedes Benz 350 ML while in his white cassock as well as in company of a seminarian and a boy living with him before he was kidnapped.
The abductors had flagged his vehicle down and shot sporadically into the air. They dragged the priest into the bush. The gunmen also took the mobile phones of all the occupants of the vehicle. However, Adorolo’s Mercedes car has been recovered and taken to the police station at Okpella where the matter was reported.
When contacted on Thursday, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Nkombe, confirmed the incident but said that the command had taken steps to rescue the priest.
He said: “Immediately it happened, the OC Anti-Kidnapping was contacted and they (policemen attached to the unit) swung into action. Hopefully, let’s see what happens today.”
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev Gabriel Dunia, on Thurday confirmed Adorolo’s kidnap. He disclosed this during a press conference held in Auchi.
He said: “Rev Adorolo was on his way back from Auchi to his parish at St. Benedict Catholic Church, Okpella, when he was abducted by gunmen at a bad spot near Okpella about 6p.m. on Wednesday.”
The bishop condemned the incident; pointing out that the abductors committed an abominable act by keeping a priest, who offers selfless service to God and humanity, for ransom.
He said: “The abductors have made contact with the church for ransom. The church does not pay ransom as it is not a profit making organisation.
We call on security agencies to ensure the release of the priest.
The diocese is calling for an unconditional release of the priest. We are holding a mass for the unconditional release of the priest.”
Meanwhile, gunmen terrorising Birnin-Gwari-Funtua Road, Kaduna State, have abducted an Assistant Commissioner of Police identified as Emmanuel Adeniyi, and three of his family members.
Adeniyi is the Officer-in-Charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Zamfara State Police Command.
It was reported that Adeniyi and his family were travelling back to Zamfara from Kaduna on Wednesday when the gun-trotting men flagged down their Toyota Hilux.
The gang reportedly dragged them from the vehicle and whisked them away in another vehicle.
The identities of the family members had yet to be ascertained.
On Thursday, the kidnappers reportedly communicated with their relatives, demanding N30m ransom for their release.
Apart from the ACP and his family, it was learnt that a police officer and three others on a bus were abducted the same day on the road.
It was gathered that several police units, including the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Unit and Anti-Kidnapping unit, had been deployed to rescue the victims.
A source said that the Toyota Hilux had been recovered by the police, adding that the kidnappers were criminals dislodged from Niger State.
“The ACP was returning to his duty post in Gusau, Zamfara State, on Wednesday with his family members when the gunmen struck along the Birnin-Gwari-Funtua Road and whisked them away. He is the OC, SCIID of the state police command. Only the vehicle has been recovered.
“Another police officer was abducted with three others while travelling in a bus to Birnin Gwari on Wednesday. A police patrol team got information that some travellers on the bus had been abducted, they chased the kidnappers, but I do not know whether the victims have been rescued or not.
“A popular businessman from Birnin Gwari, known as Danhaza, and his driver were also abducted three days ago while travelling on the same road to Kaduna,” the source said.