The kidnapped Prelate of the Methodist Church, His Eminence Samuel Uche, on Tuesday said N100m was paid as ransom before he was released.
According to Channels Television, the cleric said at a press conference in Lagos the monies were arranged in five sacks of N20 million.
The funds, he noted, were raised by the Methodist Church in Nigeria.
As reported by Everyday.ng, he also claimed that neither the Federal or State Government, nor the military or police intervened.
At a press conference held at Methodist church Yaba, Lagos State the prelate disclosed his abductors were Fulani.
His words: “These people came out from the bush, they divided themselves into 3 places; some people fired at us and there was another group in front to make sure that we didn’t run away; they fired shots at our vehicle and eventually, they abducted three of us.
“The Communication man of the church was able to escape, the driver was able to escape; they abducted me, the Bishop of Owerri and my chaplain and they took us to the bush and were torturing us. It was in the process of that torture that I hit my right eye on a tree. Even when blood was flowing and I was soaking my eyes with a handkerchief, they didn’t feel like anything happened.
“All they said was that we should follow them; that they were not actually against Nigerian citizens but against the government, that the government is a bad government.
“They are Fulani boys; all the eight are Fulani; they said the day they will see the president or any of his representatives they will chew him raw; that he is their brother but he has disappointed them and has disappointed Nigeria.
”I said even though I am part of government, I’m a church man, I’m not a government official; they said okay, that is what has saved you, we would have killed you out-rightly without asking for any ransom but now that you are a church man, lets go inside the bush.
“I trekked up to 15 kilometers but I knew that we were rigmaroling, going up going down and eventually at 11pm they said okay now we can negotiate; each of us will pay N50 million and we are going to pay N150million. I thought it was a joke; I said we were going to pay N10 million and they said what? Don’t say that; they lifted up their knife to cut me, I said please hold on.”
He put the age of his attackers at between 18 and 35 adding that after taking
his rings, chain, they insisted on the N150 million ransom.
“I said okay. We will pay you N100 million. After some time, they said where is the money and I said this is Sunday night how can we get money this night and you know that there is this sit at home in Igbo land. We can’t afford the money now be patient till morning, we will make contacts.”
“I told them we will raise the money for you. But the irony of it, where they were situated, the soldiers all of Fulani extraction, Nigerian soldiers, they were there at Lomara junction and these boys were going behind them. Meanwhile they kept their cows somewhere, numbering about 200.
“They said when are you bringing the money? I said by 12 noon, I will call the people I’ve contacted whether the money had been raised and I called them, they said that they are gathering the money and they heard it because they said I will use my phone to talk, they can’t use their phone, they don’t want to be tracked
“Their leader was born in Igbo land but his parents have died. He said he was born around Umuahia Amuzukwu and his father was a cow dealer, the boy understood Igbo….
“Around 5;30pm, the youngest boy who I think is a younger brother to their commander said oga congratulations you are free you can go now. We have got our money, you can go. Let me show you the road.
“They took us to old road, where they wrote ‘Welcome to Imo’ and ‘Goodbye from Abia’.
“They told us that after buying enough weapons, they are going to bring all those people that were driven away from Zamfara, Katsina, Sambisa forest that they are all coming to locate themselves in igbo land and deal with us.
“He said, do you know Ibadan expressway? We are in all the bush there, we are also in the South-South, we are waiting for the slightest signal we will finish you people and take over this land. They claimed that Nigeria belongs to Fulani.”
Recall that the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu attributed the release of the Prelate to the grace of God, adding that the fervent prayers of the Christian Community and the well coordinated response from security agencies contributed to his release.
A statement by Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor reads: “Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has expressed delight at the release from kidnappers’ captivity of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. SCK Uche, the Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Rt Rev Okechukwu Michael and the Prelate’s Chaplain.
“Governor Ikpeazu has spoken with the Prelate who is in high spirits. The Governor is grateful to God Almighty for His saving grace.
“The Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria is a son of Abia State. They were kidnapped on Sunday around the Nkwoagu – Leru axis in Umunneochi LGA, off the Enugu – PH Expressway.
“The Governor attributed the release of these eminent men of God within 24 hours of their abduction to the grace of God, the fervent prayers of the Christian Community and the well coordinated response from security agencies in Abia State.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu assures that security will be stepped up around the Isuikwuato – Umunneochi axis of the State where there has, in the recent past, been a spike in the activities of criminals.
“The Governor stated that the location of the area around the state’s borders with 4 states of Imo, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi makes it attractive to criminals who easily enter the State and also escape through any of these routes.
“The Governor called for Inter State Collaboration with the neighboring states in securing those areas and stamp out the activities of criminals there”.
Prelate Uche was kidnapped last Sunday with the Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark, the prelate’s chaplain and the driver at the Okigwe/Isuochi axis on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
They were on their way to Owerri Airport en-route Lagos after a Sunday service, when they were kidnapped.