Bayelsa Times

Soldiers not involved in the kidnap of  Methodist Prelate


The Nigerian Army has dismissed the social media reports alleging complicity of its troops in the recent kidnap of the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Samuel Kanu-Uche.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said the insinuation that troops were complicit in the kidnap incident could not be swallowed hook line and sinker as it was not premised on any findings of investigations.

He said the allegation had raised some pertinent questions which were still unanswered.

According to him, given the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area?

“Did the Methodist Church take the NIgerian Army into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit.

“More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours.

“Was the ransom paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers,” he said.

Nwachukwu said the Nigerian army unit had not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church.

He said that troops were deployed at Forward Operating Base(FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University, Uturu.

The Army spokesperson also said no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.

He reiterated that troops’ deployment in the army was not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation.

Nwachukwu explained that a deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction, who, as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act was not our practice or modus operandi in the army.

“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army, we will take this weighty allegation seriously.

“We will approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation,” he said.

Bayelsa Times recalls that Kanu-Uche was kidnapped on Sunday along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State while on his way to the airport.

He was kidnapped alongside the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s Chaplain and were released on Monday.

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