Archdeacon John Chuwuemeka Abubasim from the Diocese of Niger Delta North in Nigeria is with us on a study visit. Last night he was telephoned to be told that his Bishop, the Rt Revd Ignatius Kattey (with whom we had arranged Archdeacon John’s visit) had been kidnapped close to his home outside Port Harcourt, together with his wife Beatrice, who was subsequently released. The kidnappers took the bishop ‘into the bush’. No call has been made by then as yet which would enable the security police to trace his kidnappers. No motive is evident. Talking with Archdecaon John this morning and from my own limited knowledge of the situation in Nigeria it is very unlikely that this is to be attributed to Boko HAram (the militant Islamist movement in the North and East of Nigeria). Kidnapping through gangs has been the case in the Delta in the past, though nothing like this has happened for about three years. Even so past kidnappings have been related to economic disparities and the oil economy in the Delta, rather than focussing on religious groups. The most likely scenario – but this is purely speculation – is an opportunist gang with ransom motives, though so far no demand has been made.
Please pray in all our Churches on the Diocese of Guildford tomorrow Sunday 8 September for Bishop Ignatius Kattey, who is a senior figure in the Nigerian Church as Dean of the Province, for his family, for the Diocese of Niger Delta North including the Bishop’s Secretary Joseph Mman Oriji (who was also due to have made the study visit though visa delays prevented his arrival last week). Remember also Archdeacon John in your prayers as he continues his visit among us with the anxiety of the safety of Bishop Ignatius.
Sent on the Bishop’s behalf by the Communications Team – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org