Abducted Imo Catholic priest, driver regain freedom

The abducted parish priest of Saint Michael’s Catholic Church in the Umuekebi community in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, Reverend Fr Kingsley Eze, also known as Father Ichie, and his driver, Uchenna Newman, have regained their freedom.

Gunmen had on Thursday last week kidnapped the cleric and his driver when they alighted from a Volvo jeep to purchase at Orieama junction around 8 pm.

Our correspondent gathered on Friday that the kidnapped victims returned home unharmed.

Though City Round had yet to confirm if any ransom was paid before the priest and his driver were released, a source claimed that the victims paid N500,000 as ransom.

“I can now confirm that the Reverend Father and the driver have been released after a ransom of N500,000 was paid yesterday around Umucheke Okwe in the Onuimo LGA,” the source said.

Another source, an indigene of the Umuekebi community added, “It is true, the priest and Mr Uchenna have been released. They are back home. The vehicle they were kidnapped in was tolled from the Okigwe area. We thank God that they are home.”

Earlier, the kidnappers had on Sunday and Monday contacted the wife of the driver and demanded a N50 million ransom for the release of the duo. They later called and reduced the price tag to N10m.

The state police command has yet to react to the kidnap of the priest and has not issued any statement over their release.