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Nigeria’s Methodist leader says huge ransom was paid to secure his release

by Kelly Valencia
Capture samuel kanu.PNG - Banner image

The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria has told reporters the church paid a ransom to secure his release.

Gunmen abducted His Eminence Samuel Kanu and two other pastors on Sunday while they were on their way to the airport in Nigeria's southeastern state of Abia.

During a press conference shortly after his release on Monday, Rev Kanu said the church paid $240,000 for his release and that of the two other clergy travelling with him.

Rev Kanu said at least eight armed men ambushed them, shooting sporadically at their vehicle before kidnapping them. The clergymen’s driver and one other church member managed to escape.

The 69-year-old also recalled how the abductors showed them the rotted bodies of previous victims, threatening to do the same with him.

Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko, who heads the Methodist church in Abia State said paying the ransom was necessary.

"They would not have released them if that was not done, it wasn't the security that intervened," he said. "How effective will that law be when security agencies are not doing their best? What is the law for those who kidnap and demand ransom?”

Their kidnap comes as the Nigerian government is about pass a bill that will punish those who pay ransoms with up to 15 years in prison.

The bill would also punish via a death sentence those who commit abductions.

Armed groups have kidnapped hundreds of people for ransom across Nigeria over the last two years.

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