Gunmen have kidnapped a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Azubuike and three other persons in Ebonyi State.
Channels Television gathered that the cleric was abducted on Monday in Isu, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State close to his residence in the area.
Although the police authorities are yet to react to the incident, the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki confirmed the abduction in a statement on Tuesday.
The Chancellor of the diocese, Fr. Matthew Uzoma Opoke, said Azubuike was whisked away by the gunmen while returning from pastoral duties.
In a statement titled, “Call for prayers,” the diocesan chancellor asked the Catholic faithful to pray for the unconditional release of the priest.
He also confirmed that three other victims were kidnapped alongside the priest, although he didn’t reveal their identities.
“Fr. Joseph is the Parish Priest of St. Charles Parish, Mgbalaeze Isu in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State,” the statement read.
“He was abducted alongside three other people. The abductors are making financial demands but with your prayers, we are going to have them back unconditionally. May Mother Mary of priests, intercede for us. Amen. St. Joseph-Pray for us.”
Ebonyi is one of the states in the South-East that has been hit by gunmen. Other states include Abia, Imo, Anambra and Enugu.
In recent years, armed gangs have been kidnapping people, including priests, for ransom from villages and on highways mainly in the northwest in recent years. The practice has spread to other parts of the country, increasing insecurity in the nation.