The reported death of the kidnapped Auxiliary Bishop of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, the Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, and his driver, has been described as misleading.
In a statement, the Archbishop of Owerri Diocese, the Most Rev. Anthony JV Obinna, has requested the public to disregard news of the bishop’s death.
The statement asked “All Christ’s faithful and people of goodwill at large to disregard the purported news feed by one Useni Yusuf at AI Press on the killing of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe.
“This information is unconfirmed, misleading and does not come from the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri.
“We continue to appeal that all join the archbishop in prayers for the release of Bishop Chikrnre and Mr Ndubuisi Robert, his driver,” the Church said.
On Sunday night, armed men kidnapped Chikwe and his driver.
The Archbishop of Owerri, Obinna, confirmed the kidnap in a statement on his behalf by the Archdiocesan Chancellor, Msgr.Alphonsus Oha.
“His Grace, Most Rev. Archbishop Anthony JV Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri painfully informs Christ’s faithful and God’s people at large that Most. Rev. Moses Chikwe, Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri was kidnapped late evening of Sunday 27 December 2020.
The said incident took place around Site and Services, New Owerri, Imo State.”
Meanwhile, the Imo state police command on Monday said that they had activated their strategy to rescue the bishop.
The State Police Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Orlando Ikeokwu, said that to achieve this, the Quick Intervention Team (QUIT) and anti-kidnapping unit (AKU) have all been rolled out into action.
The PPRO said the “Commissioner of Police has activated the Commands quick intervention team (QUIT) and the anti-kidnapping unit (AKU), to move into the matter with a view to rescuing the Bishop and possibly arrest the hoodlums.”
On its part, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the kidnap of Chikwe.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by Rev. Eches Divine Eches, the Chairman, Imo State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), described the cleric’s abduction as the height of wickedness and called on the police authorities to immediately rescue the victims.
The statement partly read, “The development is what I describe as the height of wickedness against the Church. I have already reached out to the Imo State Police Commissioner to fish out the perpetrators of this wicked act even as I will reach out to the state government to ensure our bishop’s safety.”
CAN also sympathised with the Archbishop of Owerri, Obinna, on the abduction of the cleric and assured the Catholic community of the association’s support and prayers.
While noting that the abducted cleric had been discharging his duties diligently upon assuming office in 2019, the group wondered why he would be the target of kidnap.
He said, “Not many people understand that as clerics, we are called to a life of prayers and supplications for them and the nation, a duty we have diligently discharged.
“Your Grace, Sir, our prayers are with you and the Catholic Church as this is an injury on the entire Christian community in Imo State.”
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