Nigerian priest abducted on Corpus Christi Sunday regains freedom

Father Jeremiah Yakubu Father Jeremiah Yakubu of the Diocese of Kafanchan in Nigeria was freed on Monday, June 12, 2023, after 24 hours in captivity. | Credit: Diocese of Kafanchan

Father Jeremiah Yakubu, who was kidnapped from his parish residence in Nigeria’s Diocese of Kafanchan on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 11, has regained his freedom, the diocese has announced.

In a statement shared June 13 with ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, Father Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, the chancellor of the diocese, said: “With hearts filled with joy, we raise our voices in a symphony of praises as we announce the return of our brother, Rev. Father Jerry Yakubu.”

Okolo said Yakubu was abducted “by armed persons” from the rectory of Holy Trinity Parish in Karku on Sunday evening. The diocese said he was released the next day, June 12.

“We want to thank all those who have offered prayers and entreaties for the quick release of our priest and others who are still in the dens of their kidnappers,” Okolo said in the statement, dated June 12.

“We pray to God to hasten the release of those who are still in the hands of their captors,” he added. “May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for us and all those that are still in captivity.”

The release of Yakubu is the latest in a series of kidnappings and murders involving members of the clergy, seminarians, and other Christians in Africa’s most populous nation. 

On June 7, Father Charles Onomhoale Igechi of the Archdiocese of Benin City, who was set to mark his first priestly anniversary on Aug. 13, was shot dead while returning from pastoral duties.

On June 2, Father Stanislaus Mbamara, a priest ministering in Nigeria’s Nnewi Diocese, was kidnapped and later set free.

Officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria have urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was sworn in on May 29, to prioritize the security concerns and the economic struggles of the people of God in the West African nation.

“Nigeria is facing a number of challenges that require strong and decisive leadership. From security concerns to economic struggles, it is clear that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria can reach its full potential," Rev. Daniel Okoh said May 29.

Earlier, on May 27, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese called upon the new president of Nigeria to identify what is behind the “scars, wounds, and injuries” of Nigerians even as he prioritizes their healing.

This story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa. It has been adapted by CNA.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.