Father Mark Ojotu , chaplain of St. Mary’s hospital in Okpoga, Benue State, has reportedly been kidnapped on 22 December.
Fides news agency has reported the kidnapping of yet another Catholic priest in Nigeria.
Father Mark Ojotu, chaplain of St. Mary’s hospital, Okpoga, was abducted on Thursday afternoon, 22 December, along the Okpoga-Ojapo Road, in the eastern State of Benue, according to a statement sent to Fides by the Diocese of Otukpo.
The local bishop Michael Ekwoy Apochi has asked the faithful to “pray for the rapid release of the priest and all those in the hands of the kidnappers”.
Third priest kidnapped in five days
The abduction is the third priest kidnapping in Nigeria in five days and is the latest of a long series. It follows the kidnapping of Fr. Christopher Ogide, Associate Pastor at Maria Assumpta Parish of Umuopara in the southern State of Abia, on 17 December, and that of Father Sylvester Okechukwu, of the diocese of Kafanchan, in the Muslim-majority northern State of Kaduna.
Violence and insecurity in Nigeria
Kidnappings targeting Church personnel as well as Nigerian citizens have become a common occurrence in Nigeria which, since 2019, has been battling with a surge of banditry ranging from kidnapping for ransom, to murder, robbery and rape.
For over ten years the African nation has also been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency, targeting churches, Christians, Muslim critics as well as State institutions.
The terrorist group aims at overthrowing Nigeria’s secular government and establishing an Islamic state. Since it was launched in 2009, more than 35,000 people have been killed in northern Nigeria and nearly 2 million have been displaced.