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Catholic priest, 44 others abducted in Niger state



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Niger State Police Command has confirmed the abduction of Very Rev. Father Leo Raphael Ozigi, the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Sarkin Pawa, in the Munya Local Government Area of the state, alongside 44 other villagers by bandits who raided the community on Sunday evening.

The police spokesman in the state. DSP Wasiu Abiodun, while briefing newsmen on the incident on Monday in Minna, the state capital, said the priest was abducted on his way to another community, Gwada, from Sarkin Pawa, when he ran into bandits operating on the Sarkin Pawa-Gwada road who whisked him away alongside the other villagers.

He however, assured that the police are already on a hunt for the bandits with a view to rescuing the abducted people.

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Also confirming the incident, the Secretary of the Niger State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Raphael Opawoye, called for prayers for his safe return and those of the others abducted by the criminals.

“The Very Rev (Dr) Leo Raphael Ozigi was kidnapped on Sunday on his way back to Gwada from Sarkin Pawa after the Sunday Service. We call on Christians in the state and Nigeria as a whole to pray for his safe return as well as others also kidnapped by the bandits,” he said.

The Secretary of the Munya Council, James Jagaba, who described the renewed banditry operations in local government as pathetic, said the bandits had been operating unchecked since Saturday with their activities turning the communities into disarray.

“The entire Munya Local Government is in disarray. The situation in the area is pathetic. There’s kidnap in all parts of the local government. The bandits have been operating freely since Saturday with no one daring to challenge them,” he said.

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