The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Kanu, said the kidnappers who recently abducted him and two other priests were paid 100m naira ($240,000) as ransom to secure their release.
According to BBC, Dr. Kanu was abducted on Sunday while he was traveling on a highway in the south-eastern part of the West African nation. Separatists in that region have been pushing for secession. Dr. Kanu was released 24 hours after he was kidnapped.
In an interview with the news outlet, Dr. Kanu said the kidnappers took him to a gully to show him the disposed and decomposing bodies of their suspected victims. His abductors also threatened to take his life as well as that of the two other priests if the ransom wasn’t paid.
Dr. Kanu revealed the Methodist Church in Nigeria raised the ransom. The money was divided into 20 million naira (around $48,000) each and put in five sacks.
The cleric also alleged that Nigerian authorities did not intervene after he was abducted. It was also suggested that Nigerian troops had something to do with the kidnapping. But the West African nation’s army released a statement denying any involvement.
In an attempt to tackle the surging and profitable kidnapping industry, lawmakers in Nigeria have been working on a controversial bill that seeks to make the payment of ransoms a criminal offense, BBC reported.
The Lagos-based think-tank, SBM Intelligence, reports that at least $18 million has been paid as ransom to kidnappers since 2011. More than half of that ransom money was paid between 2016 and 2020.
Dr. Kanu’s abduction came after last week’s reported kidnapping of two Roman Catholic priests in the country’s northern state of Katsina. The priests and two other people were in their church’s rectory when gunmen forced their way in and abducted them.
Nigerian authorities have been trying to clamp down on several armed groups that are engaged in killings and kidnappings in a number of areas in the West African nation.