by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - The head of the Nigerian Methodist Church was abducted from Abia in south-east Nigeria on Sunday, before being released the next day, Christian Today (CT) reports.
Most Rev Dr. Samuel Kanu was kidnapped by gunmen following a church event, CT said. It is not clear who carried out the kidnapping or why.
"His Eminence, Samuel Kanu, is a peace-loving Christian leader" whose abduction "came as a shock", the Very Rev Nosakhare Nosayaba of Abuja's Methodist Cathedral of Unity told the BBC after his kidnapping. In any event, Rev Kanu was released on Monday.
In a statement to CT about abductions in Nigeria, Illia Djadi of the Open Doors Christian persecution watchdog group said: "This is the latest in a series of kidnappings which have become an epidemic in Nigeria. The issue of security is the central issue for Nigerians. People from all walks of life from army officers to young children can be abducted.”
"Ahead of elections in February next year, political candidates are putting security at the top of their agendas,” Djadi added. "Because of widespread poverty, extremist groups are making the most of the lucrative business in kidnappings, demanding ransom payments as a shortcut for easy money."
Requesting prayer for Nigerians, the President of the Methodist Conference of Great Britain, Rev Sonia Hicks, and Vice President Barbara Easton explained in a joint statement that in Nigeria, “kidnappings, violent extremist attacks, and murders by armed groups, are frequent occurrences, and many live in fear."
Nigeria ranked number one in the world last year for the number of Christians kidnapped; some, like Leah Sharibu who was abducted from her school by Boko Haram terrorists in 2018, remain in captivity for years.