Yet to be identified gunmen abducted the Parish Priest of St. Charles Parish, Mgbaleze Isu in Onicha Local government area of Ebonyi State, Rev. fr. Joseph Azubike and 3 others.
Confirming the Incident in Abakaliki through a statement signed by the Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, Rev Fr. Matthew Uzoma Opoke with the caption ‘Call for Prayers’, it was disclosed that the Priest was abducted Monday, 10th July 2023 close to his parish.
The Diocesan Chancellor said the Priest was abducted while on his way back from performing pastoral duties.
“Kindly pray for the unconditional release of Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Azubike who was abducted on Monday, 10th of July 2023 close to his parish on his way back from Pastoral duties.
“Fr. Joseph is the Parish Priest of St. Charles parish, Mgbaleze Isu in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. He was abducted alongside three other people.” the statement read.
Rev. Fr. Opoke further revealed that the abductors are currently making financial demands adding that with prayers, we are going to have them back unconditionally.
Residents of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital and other towns within the State raised alarm over the increased rate of kidnapping, armed attacks and other criminal activities in the State and called on security agencies to beef up security and ensure constant patrol of major roads within the State.
A Security expert in the State, Mr. Friday Nwaigwe described the incident as worrisome. He condemned the continued kidnap and brutal killing of innocent citizens of the state by suspected gunmen in the last couple of weeks now in the State.
According to him, within the last few weeks, an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Mr. Emmanuel Igwe was shot dead by suspected kidnappers who abducted the wife after killing the INEC official.
He lamented that the 72-year-old father of the Ohaneze Ndigbo National Youth Leader, Mr. Okafor Aja was also killed by the kidnappers while trying to escape from the bush.
Effort to get the reaction of the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, SP Onome Onovwakpoyeya was not successful as at press time.