Facts have emerged on how abducted Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Imo State, Bishop Moses Chikwe and his driver, Ndubuisi Robert were freed.
According to a post on his verified social media platforms, Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Orlando Ikeokwu, announcing the release of the Bishop and his driver said no ransom was paid to their abductors.
The post, made at about 11pm on New Year day says the Bishop and his driver were freed unhurt following a sting operation by the Imo State Police command.
“Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, Bishop Moses Chikwe and few others, released unhurt, without ransom, sequel to a sting operation by the men of the Imo State Police Command.”
Confirming the release, the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, in a Statement, signed by the Archbishop, A.J.V. Obinna said the Auxiliary Bishop and his driver are free.
“With gratitude to God, I hereby inform all Christ’s faithful and people of goodwill everywhere that at about 10pm on the first day of January, 2021, His Lordship, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe and Mr. Ndubuisi Robert, his driver, who were abducted in the evening of Sunday, the 27th day of December, 2020 have finally been released.”
“I personally visited and saw Bishop Chikwe in his residence at about 10:45pm, looking and feeling very weak from the traumatic experience. Nevertheless, we continue to thank Almighty God for his goodness to us.”
“At the time of my visit, Mr. Ndubuisi Robert, the driver was unavoidable, because he had been speedily taken to the hospital for the treatment of a deep cut he received on his hand from the kidnappers.”
Explaining further on the release of Bishop Chikwe, the Imo State Police Command, in a Statement, Saturday morning, signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Orlando Ikeokwu reiterated that the Auxiliary Bishop returned unhurt.
Reacting to a Statement by the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, A.J.V.Obinna, also crediting the success of the operation to sister security agency, the Department of State Service-DSS, the Police Spokesman, using his verified WhatsApp number, denied the involvement of the Department of State Service in the rescue, insisting that “it was purely a Police operation.”
Below is the full statement by the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Orlando Ikeokwu:
IMO STATE POLICE COMMAND BULLETIN
AUXILIARY BISHOP OF THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF OWERRI BISHOP MOSES CHIKWE RESCUED UNHURT, WITHOUT RANSOM.
– IMO COMMAND WARNS AGAINST FAKE NEWS AND MISCHIEVOUS USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Bishop Moses Chikwe has been rescued unhurt as a result of a sting operation embarked upon by the tactical squad of the Command led by the Anti Kidnapping Unit.
Recall that on 27/12/2020, the Auxiliary Bishop was kidnapped together with his driver, and the hoodlums went ahead to kidnap one Chioma Stephenie Ekwedike ‘f’ aged 33yrs at Imo Housing Estate Umuguma, Owerri West LGA in front of her residence.
Pursuant to the above, the Head and the Officer in Charge of the state Police Command, newly promoted AIG ISAAC O. AKINMOYEDE, activated all the tactical teams in the Command, and charged them to rescue the Bishop and others, and arrest the hoodlums responsible for the act.
Acting on the said directive a combined unit of all the tactical teams on the 31st December, 2020 stormed Awara, Ohaji/Egbema LGA and Omuku creeks. Few persons positively linked to the crime/criminals were arrested, and some incriminating items recovered.
The arrest of the suspects and other coordinated operations by the Command led to the kidnappers abandoning victims, leading to rescue of the bishop and two other victims unhurt and without payment of any ransom. Efforts are ongoing to arrest the fleeing members of the notorious kidnapping syndicate.
It is noteworthy to mention that an online media platform last week came up with the news of the death of the Bishop. In the online report, it was claimed that the Auxiliary Bishop was beheaded and his head and decapitated body recovered somewhere in Anambra state. The Command therefore wish to warn against such speculative and junk reportings especially in social media as such is capable of causing breach of peace.
The Command also wishes to commend the public and the Christian community for the calmness during the period of this travail and the confidence reposed in the Nigeria Police to resolve the crime. We however wishes to assure everyone that the Command remains capable of protecting all law abiding citizens of the state.
Members of the public are reminded that all incidents within their area must be promptly reported to the Police especially incidents of grievous nature or heinous crimes.
The Command also calls for information from the members of the public concerning crime and criminalities in their area to enable the police take prompt and decisive actions.
SP IKEOKWU GODSON ORLANDO
POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
FOR: THE HEAD OF POLICE