Nigerian Anglican leaders are asking for prayer after the second most senior cleric in the Church of Nigeria was kidnapped by armed men two nights ago. Dean of the Province and Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, the Most Revd Ignatius Kattey and his wife Beatrice Kattey were kidnapped near their residence at Eleme, Port Harcourt, at around 10.45pm on Friday. According to one news report, kidnappers abandoned the Archbishop’s car containing Mrs Kattey after a police chase, but the Archbishop is still missing.
On Saturday, the state Police Public Relations Officer Angela Agape told the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt that detectives and Anti-Kidnap Unit were on top of the case. “No group has claimed responsibility and no ransom demand has been made,’’ she said.
Nigeria’s The Guardian newspaper quoted Church leaders as saying they were praying for the Dean’s unconditional release and that they “would not think of paying a ransom”.
The Church issued a short statement on Saturday informing the public of the news:
“We announce that the Dean, Church of Nigeria and Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, the Most Revd Ignatius Kattey and his wife Mrs Beatrice Kattey were kidnapped near their residence at Eleme, Port Harcourt, in the evening of yesterday, 6th September, 2013. Some hours later, Mrs. Beatrice Kattey was released, but the Archbishop is still being held by the kidnappers. We hereby solicit the prayers of the faithful for the release of the Archbishop.”
It is understood that the Archbishop, who is also diocesan bishop of Niger Delta North, and his wife were due to receive the Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the following morning. They were all due to visit one of the dioceses in the Niger Delta province.
Back in December Archbishop Okoh appealed for a permanent solution to the “menace” of terrorists and kidnappers in the country during a sermon in Abuja. At the service, which was attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, Archbishop Okoh said Nigeria needed “freedom from terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbery and political wickedness”.