A Catholic bishop who was kidnapped in Nigeria last week has been released “unhurt and without ransom.” Bishop Moses Chikwe and his driver, Ndubuisi Robert, were cut loose by their captors on January 1st, according to a social media post by the Archdiocese of Owerri.
“Welcome back our beloved Bishop, God heard [the] prayers of his people," the post read, adding that there were "more details to come".
"To GOD be the glory," it added.
Bishop Chikwe was kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday, December 27th, in Owerri, the capital of Imo State in southeastern Nigeria. The assailants identity is unknown at this time. Nigerian bishops had been calling for people to pray that Chikwe would be released. Clergy in California, where Chikwe had served for several years as a priest, also solicited prayers for his safe return.
Shortly after his abduction, Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri urged the faith community to ignore reports that Bishop Chikwe had been killed. "This information is unconfirmed, misleading and does not come from the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri,” he said.
Owerri released a statement on the Bishop's safe return, noting that the driver had sustained an injury and was being treated in hospital.
"With gratitude to God, I hereby inform all Christ's Faithful and People of Goodwill everywhere that at about 10:00 pm on 1 January 2021, His Lordship, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe and Mr Ndubuisi Robert, his driver, who were abducted in the evening of Sunday the 27 December 2020 were finally released," he said.
"I personally visited and saw Bishop Chikwe in his residence at about 10:45 pm, looking very weak from the traumatic experience. Nevertheless, we continue to thank Almighty God for His goodness to us.
"At the time of my visit, Mr Ndubuisi Robert, the driver, was unavailable because he had been speedily taken to the hospital for the treatment of a deep cut he received on his hand from the kidnappers."