My ordeal in the hands of kidnappers – Methodist Church prelate shares experience

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The Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu Uche, has narrated his near-death experience at the hands of kidnappers.
The Prelate alongside the Bishop of Owerri Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark, and the Prelate’s chaplain was on Sunday, kidnapped in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State. They however regained freedom on Monday after payment of N100m ransom.
Narrating his experience at a Press conference held at Methodist Church, Yaba, Lagos on Tuesday,  the prelate said their abductors were Fulanis alleging that some personnel of the Nigerian Army from Fulani extraction were aiding the kidnappers in their activities.
He said, “These people came out from the bush; they divided themselves into three places; some people fired at us and there was another group in front to make sure that we didn’t run away; they fired shots at our vehicle and eventually, they abducted three of us.
“The communication man of the church was able to escape, the driver was able to escape; they abducted me, the bishop of Owerri, and my chaplain and they took us to the bush and were torturing us. It was in the process of that torture that I hit my right eye on a tree. Even when blood was flowing and I was soaking my eyes with a handkerchief, they didn’t feel like anything happened.
“All they said was that we should follow them; that they were not actually against Nigerian citizens but against the government, that the government is a bad government.
“They are Fulani boys; all the eight are Fulanis; they said the day they will see the president or any of his representatives they will chew him raw; that he is their brother but he has disappointed them and has disappointed Nigeria.
” I said even though I am part of the government, I am a churchman, I am not a government official; they said okay, that is what has saved you, we would have killed you out-rightly without asking for any ransom but now that you are a churchman, let’s go inside the bush.
“I trekked up to 15 kilometers but I knew that we were rigmaroling, going up going down, and eventually at 11 pm they said okay now we can negotiate; each of us will pay N50million and we are going to pay N150million. I thought it was a joke; I said we were going to pay 10million and they said what? Don’t say that; they lifted up their knife to cut me, I said please hold on.”
According to him, the leader of the group is about 35 years while the others are about 18.
He said they had taken his rings, and chain, took the money they had on them and insisted on a N150 million ransom.
The clergy said the abductors came down to 100million ransom, warning that if they negotiate, they would be killed.
“I said okay. We will pay you N100 million. After some time, they said where is the money and I said this is Sunday night how can we get money this night you know that there is this sit at home in Igbo land. We can’t afford the money now be patient till morning, we will make contacts.”
He said they lost patience, laid bishop Dennis Mark down, raised a knife to cut him, while another pointed a gun at him (prelate) to show that they were serious.
“I told them we will raise the money for you. But the irony of it, where they were situated, the soldiers all of Fulani extraction, Nigerian soldiers, they were there at Lomara junction and these boys were going behind them. Meanwhile, they kept their cows somewhere, numbering about 200.”
He said some people were taking care of the cows while the abductors were parading them around the bush until they settled at a place,
“They said when are you bringing the money? I said by 12 noon, I will call the people I’ve contacted whether the money had been raised and I called them, they said that they were gathering the money and they heard it because they said I will use my phone to talk, they can’t use their phone, they don’t want to be tracked.
“Their leader was born in Igbo land but his parents have died. He said he was born around Umuahia Amuzukwu and his father was a cow dealer, the boy understood Igbo.”

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Abducted Methodist prelate admits payment of N100m ransom for his release

He said the leader threatened to kill them if they informed security operatives when they had raised N100million.
The leader asked them to buy five ghana must-go bags and put N20million in each bag. They left to pick the ransom while four others waited on them with guns.
“Around 5;30pm, the youngest boy who I think is a younger brother to their commander said oga congratulations you are free you can go now. We have got our money, you can go. Let me show you the road.
“They took us to the old road, where they wrote welcome to Imo’ and ‘goodbye from Abia”.
“They told us that after buying enough weapons, they are going to bring all those people that were driven away from Zamfara, Katsina, Sambisa forest that they are all coming to locate themselves in Igbo land and deal with us.
“He said do you know Ibadan expressway? We are in all the bush there, we are also in the south-south, we are waiting for the slightest signal we will finish you people and take over this land. Nigeria belongs to Fulani.”
The priest maintained that military personnel of Fulani extraction was aiding the kidnappers who disguise as herders in the daytime but are kidnappers at night.
The cleric called on the government to take a decisive action ‘otherwise what is happening in the north will be a child’s play.
On how they picked up the ransom, he said the terrorists came to the pickup spot with a truck without a number plate.
He stated that all efforts made to ensure that he is released were the effort of the Methodist church and her members and not security personnel or government.

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