Abducted Nigerian pastor freed after five days of captivity

Abuja city gate, Nigeria. | Wikimedia Commons/Chippla

A Nigerian pastor who was abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen last week was freed on Wednesday after five days of captivity.

On Aug 4., young Fulani herdsmen reportedly kidnapped Rev. Jen Tivkaa Moses on the highway from Jos to Abuja in Nigeria's Plateau state. On Wednesday, the leaders of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) announced that the pastor has been brought back to Jos at around 1 a.m.

The kidnappers had demanded 1 million naira (US$2,730) for the pastor's release, but the church leaders did not say whether the ransom was paid.

The Rev. Ishaku Yaro, a pastor at ECWA headquarters in Jos, posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday announcing that special prayers were held for Moses at the residence of the general secretary of the ECWA in Jos.

"Praise God we arrived in Jos safely with our CE [Christian Education] Director at about 1 a.m. on the 9th August 2017," Yaro wrote, according to Morning Star News.

"Special prayers took place at the ECWA GS house, and he was reunited with his wife. Please allow him to rest ... Presently, he will be somewhere resting for at least 3 days before coming back home," he added.

The pastor was kidnapped by suspected Fulani herdsmen while he and his driver, Yohanna Maina, were on their way to a church leadership seminar that has been scheduled for Saturday.

Maina, who sustained a gunshot wound on his right thigh, recounted that they had passed a police checkpoint and were approaching another checkpoint being set up by the authorities when they heard gunshots.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado, president of the ECWA, and the Rev. Yunusa S. Madu, ECWA general secretary, suspected that corrupt police officers allowed the Christians to be kidnapped.

"Considering the short distance between the police checkpoint and the spot in which the pastor and other passengers were attacked by the kidnappers, one would have expected a swift response by the police to rescue them, but unfortunately they were helplessly abandoned in the hands of the kidnappers," the ECWA leaders said in a statement.

According to Nigerian news website Pulse, the Bwari-Jere road, where the pastor was abducted, is widely known to be a "den of robbers and kidnappers," who are notorious for hijacking motorists and commuters. The authorities, however, have not been able to put a stop to their criminal activities.

ECWA leaders called on the Nigerian government to step up its efforts to protect the lives and property of people passing through the highways. They also urged the government to monitor the security personnel stationed along the highways and "fish out bad eggs" among them.