By Sumayyah Olapade
An Owerri-based legal practitioner, Uche Ejimonye, has narrated how gunmen kidnapped two Catholic church priests after shooting his father-in-law, Valentine Enwerem, dead.
The lawyer said in a statement to his colleagues obtained by our correspondent in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Monday that his father-in-killers law’s followed him from Amaraku in the state’s Isiala Mbano Local Government Area to Orji, where his father-in-law and the two priests were caught up in a traffic jam.
On Friday evening, gunmen shot his father-in-law several times and kidnapped the two Catholic priests he was transporting in his vehicle, according to Ejimonye.
He stated that his father-in-law was rescued by an eyewitness but died before they could reach a hospital.
“I wish to announce the demise and sudden death of my father-in-law, Valentine Enwere, popularly known as ‘Oga Val’ at Orji Mechanic Village,” the statement said.
“He was shot five times in the back by kidnappers at Orji after fleeing from them from Amaraku to Owerri and surviving the series of gunshots at his vehicle.”
“The kidnappers then drove away with the two Reverend Fathers who were in the car with him.”
“Attempts by passers-by to rescue him and transport him to the hospital were futile, as he died on the way.”
“It is truly regrettable about the state of our state and what it has become.”
When contacted by our correspondent, the lawyer stated that the incident had been reported to the state Police Command’s Anti-kidnapping Unit in Owerri.
He did, however, claim that his father-in-law was the only person who knew the identities of the kidnapped Catholic priests and the diocese from which they were abducted.
Rev’d Fr. Raymond Ogu, Communication Director for the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, stated that the archdiocese had yet to receive any reports of missing priests in any of its parishes as of the time of filing this report.
He did, however, promise to contact our correspondent if any information about the development was reported to the archdiocesan headquarters.
Micheal Abattam, the state police command’s spokesperson, had yet to respond to an inquiry about the incident at the time of filing this report.