Army to question Methodist Prelate over alleged complicity of soldiers during abduction in Abia

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Nigerian Army says it will question the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Samuel Kanu-Uche over his allegations that soldiers aided his abduction and that of two others.

The Prelate was abducted alongside the Bishop of Owerri Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s chaplain on Sunday in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia state.

But narrating his experience in a Press conference held at Methodist church Yaba, Lagos State, the prelate explained that their abductors were Fulanis.

He alleged that some personnel of the Nigerian Army from Fulani extraction were aiding the kidnappers in their activities.

According to him “these people came out from the bush; they divided themselves into 3 places; some people fired at us and there was another group in front to make sure that we didn’t run away; they fired shots at our vehicle and eventually, they abducted 3 of us.

“The communication man of the church was able to escape, the driver was able to escape; they abducted me, the bishop of Owerri and my chaplain and they took us to the bush and were torturing us. It was in the process of that torture that I hit my right eye on a tree. Even when blood was flowing and I was soaking my eyes with a handkerchief, they didn’t feel like anything happened”.

However, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the deployment of soldiers in the Nigerian Army is not done with consideration for ethnic affiliation.

According to him, “The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.

“While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation, therefore, raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.

“Given the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area? Did the Methodist Church take the NA into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit. More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours. Was the ransom paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers.

“Moreso, the NA unit has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church. It is, therefore, important to state that troops are deployed at forwarding Operating Base (FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University, Uturu and no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.

“It must be clarified that troops’ deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation, hence the deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction who as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act is not our practice or modus operandi in the NA.

“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army, we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.”