NIGERIA – Kidnapped rector of Tansi seminary released
Fr Emmanuel Dim, rector of the Tansi Major Seminary in Onitsha Anambra State, who was kidnapped has now been released. News of Fr Dim’s release was published in the evening edition of the ‘Daily Trust’ and also appeared on the website ‘The Seismograph’. Persons suspected of being Fr Dim’s kidnappers had demanded a N2.5 million ransom for his release. The Diocese of Akwa denies that any ransom was paid.
According to Fr Aghaulor, Director of Communications at the Nnewi Catholic Diocese, at 7pm on Monday 26 September, some heavily armed Fulani herders blocked the car in which Fr Dim was travelling with two other priests along the Nkpologwu / Nimbo road in the state of Enugu. The three priests were returning from a condolence visit to Fr Uchenna Ezeh of Nsukka Diocese, who lost his mother, when they were attacked.
In the attack the other two priests were slightly wounded but managed to escape. Fr Jude Ezeokana who teaches both at the major seminary of Onitsha as well as the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka received treatment briefly in Nsukka and is now recuperating in Awka. Fr Jude Chukwuemeka, chaplain of St. Camillus de Lellis College of Health Science at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was shot in the head and is receiving treatment at the institution’s teaching hospital in Nnewi.
Fr Aghaulor had appealed to the Federal Government and security agencies to help effect Fr Dim’s release. He stated: “The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, has decided and directed that ransom should not be paid for the kidnap of any of its priests and anybody that is demanding for ransom for the release of any priest kidnapped is wasting their time.”
This is not the first attack on priests in the region Fr Aghaulor added:
“In a separate place the same Monday 26 Sep 2016, a Vincentian priest whose name is yet to be confirmed was also kidnapped with his brother along Abuja Lokoja express way. Another Catholic priest Fr. Emmanuel Ugwu was kidnapped on 9 Aug 2014 along Ugwuogo-Nike-Opi road and a few weeks back a senior seminarian was killed in cold blooded in Attakwu, Enugu State. One begins to wonder if Catholic priests have become an endangered species”.
The visibly angry Fr. Aghaulor lashed out at South East Governors for doing nothing to protect the people they are governing, “while their counterparts in the North are influencing the Federal Government in spending billions of naira to contain the Boko Haram insurgents, when something more worrisome and sinister than the activities of Boko Haram is being done in the South East by the Fulani Herdsmen”.
Fr. Aghaulor commentedted that since the existence of Nigeria, nobody has seen the level of killing spree that is being perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen, adding that “while innocent people are left unprotected, we have seen a of military ware and personnel protecting the pipelines in Niger Delta, as if oil is more important than people’s lives. Why should people be killed without provocation in their own traditional lands? “
He wondered for how long this state of affairs would continue, adding ”Are there no rules and laws in this country? All over Nigeria women are being raped, people are intimidated, innocent Nigerians are being slaughtered and property worth billions of Naira destroyed by the Fulani Herdsmen”.