Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has revealed that churches in Kaduna has paid over N300 million in ransom to kidnappers who have been terrorising Kaduna-Abuja Road axis of the metropolis.
He said while announcing the release, from captivity, of the wife of the pastor in charge of Living Faith Church, Romi New Extension, Kaduna, Jeremiah Omolewa, who was abducted by kidnappers after killing her husband. Kidnappers had attacked and killed the pastor on Sunday along the dreaded Kaduna-Abuja highway before going away with his wife.
Rev. Hayab, who confirmed her release said, she regained her freedom on Thursday night after payment of undisclosed amount as ransom. Lamenting the high rate of kidnapping in the state he disclosed that in the past four years, the church in the state has paid over N300 million as ransom to kidnappers while over 500 Christians were abducted within the same period.
He disclosed further that more than 20 churches, especially, those located in communities along the Kaduna-Abuja road have been closed down as members living in those villages have since relocated following the activities of kidnappers.
“It is sad to note that many churches in Kaduna, whose members have been kidnapped, have had to coughed out between N200, 000 to N8 million to kidnappers to secure their release,” he noted.
He said the most recent and embarrassing of such payment is that of pastor of Friendship Church, Kudenda, a Kaduna suburb on whose behalf kidnappers agreed to collect N600,000 ransom after much negotiation but insisted it must be accompanied with cigarettes worth N10, 000, just to humiliate him.
He further recalled that in Kachia, a Reverend Father was abducted and a ransom of N1.5 million was paid but he has not been released since three months now, an indication that he may have been killed
“In many of our villages along Abuja road, people have abandoned their homes and relocated to places like Buwaya, Gonin- Gora, Romi and other suburbs around Kaduna metropolis as a result of activities of kidnappers,” he said.