Nigerian Bishop Moses Chikwe and his driver, who were abducted by gunmen on December 27, were released by their kidnappers late Friday, church officials report.
The archbishop of the diocese of Owerri, Anthony Obinna, released a statement early Saturday announcing the release of his auxiliary bishop, Moses Chikwe, as well as his driver, Mr. Ndubuisi Robert, after five days of captivity.
Archbishop Obinna in the statement:
With gratitude to God, I hereby inform all Christ’s faithful and People of Goodwill everywhere that at about 10.00pm 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 December, 2020 were finally released.
Archbishop Obinna said he had visited Bishop Chikwe for approximately 45 minutes in his residence Friday night at about 10:45 p.m. and found him very weak because of the trauma he had experienced. Chikwe’s driver was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment for a “deep cut” in his hand he sustained from the kidnappers, who remain unidentified.
Vatican News pointed out that the 53-year-old bishop had been released less than 24 hours after Pope Francis invited the faithful to join him in praying for the prelate’s liberation.
“I invite you to unite your prayer to the Archdiocese of Owerri in Nigeria for Bishop Moses Chikwe and his chauffeur who were kidnapped in the last few days,” the pope said following the New Year’s Day Angelus prayer Friday.
“Let us ask the Lord that they and all who are victims of similar actions in Nigeria might be restored to liberty unharmed and that that beloved country may regain security, harmony and peace,” the pontiff added.
In his statement, Archbishop Obinna thanked the pope “for mentioning the captivity of Bishop Moses Chikwe and Mr. Ndubuisi Robert and praying for their release at his New Year Angelus Message at the Vatican just hours before they regained their freedom.”
The Owerri Archdiocese noted that Bishop Moses Chikwe was released “unhurt and without ransom.”
“To GOD be the glory,” it concluded.