Gunmen have invaded a Celestial Church of Christ, Oshofa, Wasimi, in the Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State, abducting the Assistant Shepherd (assistant pastor) of the parish, Oluwaseun Ajose, and a Sunday school teacher, Dagunro Ayobami.
Our correspondents gathered that the victims were taken away from the church late on Monday.
An eyewitness, Oluwajesse Sunmade, said the gunmen wore masks and fez caps.
He said, “Around 11.40pm, I and some other members were seated at the church’s entrance while the assistant shepherd was sleeping inside the church.
“Afterwards, I saw four masked men with caps on their heads to further hide their faces; two of them were holding guns, one was with a cutlass, and the other was with a big stick. As I saw them, they told me to keep quiet.
“The other person at my side was a pregnant woman, while the other was a church worker. They asked me where Daddy (church shepherd) was, but I did not reply them. The other two wanted to tell them where the shepherd was, but I told them not to say anything.
“They threatened to shoot one of the persons with me if he did not tell them where the shepherd was. The pregnant woman who was at my other side tried to run, but I advised her against it, so they did not shoot her.
“While she tried to come back, she hit her head on the cross at the entrance. It was the noise that woke up the assistant shepherd, who was sleeping in the church and also alerted the Sunday school teacher in the other room.
“When he woke up, he asked who they were. The Sunday school teacher also came out to see what was happening, but the one with a stick beat them up and dragged them both.
“They also wanted to take me and the pregnant woman along with them, but the pregnant woman told them that she was ill and couldn’t walk; they left her alone and I managed to escape.”
The founder of the church, Prophet Oluwatomisin Olugbebi, who spoke to PUNCH Metro on the phone, said he left the vicinity about 10 minutes before the abductors invaded the church.
Olugbebi urged security agents to ensure the victims were rescued unhurt.
He said, “When my assistant called me almost two hours after they left, the kidnappers initially refused to speak with me, but on his third attempt, they spoke with me and requested N50m as ransom.
“I told them that I am a servant of God and I don’t receive salaries.”
The Commissioner of Police, Ogun State, Lanre Bankole, confirmed the incident, adding that efforts were on to rescue the abducted persons.
In another development, the Katsina State Police Command on Tuesday said terrorists who struck in the early hours of the day in the state capital abducted six people.
The incident occurred around 4am at Unguwan Shola, a community directly behind the former Federal Medical Centre.
Residents disclosed that the gunmen, who stormed the community on motorcycles, were armed with sophisticated weapons.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The gunmen went from house to house, demanding money, phones, food items, and other valuables.”
The spokesman for the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, while confirming the incident, said six persons were abducted.
Isah said, “The DPO CPS, reported that on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, around 4am, he got a report that terrorists numbering 12 on motorbikes, armed with AK-47 rifles, invaded Shola Quarters, on the outskirts of the city and abducted six members of the community to an unknown destination.
“The Commissioner of Police has deployed the anti-kidnapping unit in addition to other operational assets of the command to the area. Investigation is ongoing.”
He identified those abducted as Tanimu Adamu, Abdullahi Isiya, Isiya Rabiu, Ibrahim Adamu, Mannir Jayi and a woman whose name was not disclosed.
He said Jayi escaped from the gunmen and was assisting the police in their investigation.
In a related development, gunmen suspected to be pirates attacked a commercial speedboat and kidnapped eight passengers onboard in Bayelsa State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the abducted passengers were among 15 others travelling from Brass to Yenagoa when the speedboat was ambushed by the sea robbers on Monday.
The unit chairman of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria in the Brass Local Government Area, Daniel Biodoumoye, confirmed the incident.
He said the passengers were returning to the state capital from a burial ceremony at Egweama, in the Brass LGA, when the gunmen attacked their boat.
Biodoumoye said, “They (the pirates) intercepted the 200-horsepower engine boat close to a rice farm and fled with eight of the 15 passengers.”
The regent of Egwe-Ibe, Chief Timipre Saka-Yabi, called for the release of the victims.
The spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, said seven passengers were kidnapped by the bandits, adding that investigation had started.
Abducted bishop, wife, driver regain freedom
The Anglican Bishop of Jebba Diocese, Kwara State, Rt. Rev. Oluwaseun Aderogba, his wife and driver, who were kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday, have been released.
The Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, in a statement, said the couple and their driver were released unhurt around 6.20pm on Tuesday.
He said the three victims had been reunited with their families, adding that the hoodlums were pressurised into freeing them because of the heat turned on them by the deployment of the police in the area for search and rescue operations.
Osifeso did not state whether ransom was paid for their release or not.
It will be recalled that the abductors had demanded N50m ransom after the kidnap.