Reverend Fr Kingsley Eze, popularly known as Father Ichie, the parish priest of Saint Michael’s Catholic Church in Umuekebi village, Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, Imo State, and his driver, Uchenna Newman, have been rescued, News About Nigeria reports.
The duo was kidnapped last Thursday when they alighted from a Volvo jeep to make a purchase at Orieama Junction, Isiala Mbano Local Government Area around 8 p.m.
The incident occurred near St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Umuekebi, Osuowerre, where Fr. Eze serves as the parish priest.
Fr. Eze, also known as Father Ichie, and Newman were abducted, while gunmen also shot an onlooker during the incident.
The victims, much to the community’s relief, returned home uninjured; the circumstances surrounding their release are still sketchy, although sources indicate that a ransom of N500,000 was paid for their freedom.
“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,” a source said.
Another source, an indigene of the Umuekebi community, added that the vehicle they were kidnapped in was tolled from the Okigwe area.
News About Nigeria gathered that an anonymous source told Punch that the abductors had originally sought N50 million as ransom, but after reaching out to the driver’s spouse on Sunday and Monday, they lowered the amount to N10 million.
While the community is thankful that Father Ichie and Uchenna Newman have returned safely, the Imo State Police Command has not yet released an official statement regarding the release of the kidnapped individuals.