I saw decomposed bodies where I was kidnapped —Methodist Prelate

Dr Kanu-Uche

The Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Samuel Kanu-Uche, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of gunmen who abducted him on Sunday in Abia State. He was abducted alongside his chaplain and the Methodist Bishop of Owerri Diocese Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark.

The cleric noted that they were tortured and asked to bring the N100m ransom or they would be killed. When they negotiated for N10m, their kidnappers showed them dead bodies of their victims already decomposing.

Kanu-Uche said, “On our way to the airport to catch a flight back to Lagos after a church function in Abia State, a group of young boys, the oldest around 35 years, came out from the bush and ambushed our cars. They divided themselves into three, some at the front, some at the back while those in the middle were shooting at our car.

“They abducted three out of five of us. The driver and communication man of the church was able to escape, while they captured me, the Bishop of Owerri and the Chaplain.

“They led us into the bush and tortured us, during the process, I hit my right eye on the tree and even when blood was flowing and my handkerchief was soaked with blood, they didn’t feel like anything happened.”

“I told them that I am not a government official and they said that was what saved me, if not they would have killed me outrightly without asking for any ransom. We trekked inside the bush going up and down for like 15 kilometres.

“At exactly 11 pm, they started the negotiation and said each of us will pay N50 million and the total will be N150 million. I thought it was a joke. I said we are going to pay N10 million, and they said what? They wanted to cut me but didn’t before showing me the decomposed bodies of those they have killed.

“These boys were within 18 years and their leader will be around 35 years. One of them understands English but the others were speaking Fulani not even Hausa. They took all my valuables and money.

“In the end, they settled for N100 million and said it was not negotiable that if I talk they will kill us and forget the ransom and go ahead to kidnap others.

“They even attempted to kill the Bishop of Owerri and that they will let his blood spill on me then I will know that they were serious.

“Where they are situated, there were soldiers all from Fulani extraction around the area at Nnoma junction, and these boys were going behind them, meanwhile, they kept their cow somewhere numbering about 200.

“The following day, when I called the church, they said the effort was ongoing to raise the money and they have already raised N30 million. As of 3 pm, the church raised N130 million.

“The kidnappers instructed the church to package the money in five Ghana-must-go bags and make it N20 million in five places.

“During my conversation with their leader, he made it clear to me that he was from Sudan and his parent had died. But they gave birth to him in Igbo land around Umuahia where his late father was a cow dealer.

“They threatened that our people that are bringing the money must not involve security men, that if they do, they will kill us and pointed to a certain area where they dump decomposed bodies of those they have killed.

“Around 5:30, the youngest boy among them said, Oga congratulation, you are free, you can go now, we have got our money, let me show you the road. They took us to an old road where they wrote ‘Welcome to Imo’ and ‘Goodbye to Abia’.

“This is the time I understand what it means to be kidnapped, for more than 15 hours, with no water or food. We were all on the ground inside the bush. If you want to urinate, you need to take instructions. All the efforts made to secure my release were by the Methodist Church of Nigeria, not the police or army…”

The revered cleric also thanked members of the Methodist Church of Nigeria for the love they showed to him during his ordeal.

He said, “I don’t know that they love me this much, they showed great love towards me. Thank you all.”

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