Our Fulani Kidnappers Told Us After Buying Enough Weapons, They Will Bombard Igboland, Take Over Nigeria – Methodist Prelate, Uche Recounts Ordeal

The Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche, has revealed that the Fulani herdsmen who kidnapped him and others tortured him such that he nearly lost his sight after hitting his right eye on a tree.

The cleric who narrated his near-death experience in the hands of kidnappers said they were eight in number, all Fulani herders, with one who claimed to have been born in Abia State.

The media had reported that the Prelate, his chaplain, Very Rev. Abidemi Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark were abducted on Sunday along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.

Uche, who recounted his experience at a press conference held at Methodist Church, Yaba, Lagos State, on Tuesday, alleged that some military personnel from the North were aiding the kidnappers in their activities in the region.

The Prelate said, “These people came out from the bush; they divided themselves into 3 places; some people fired at us and there was another group in front to make sure that we didn’t run away; they fired shots at our vehicle and eventually, they abducted 3 of us.

“The communication man of the church was able to escape, the driver was able to escape; they abducted me, the bishop of Owerri and my chaplain and they took us to the bush and were torturing us. It was in the process of that torture that I hit my right eye on a tree. Even when blood was flowing and I was soaking my eyes with a handkerchief, they didn’t feel like anything happened.

“All they said was that we should follow them; that they were not actually against Nigerian citizens but against the government, that the government is a bad government.

“They are Fulani boys; all the 8 are Fulanis; they said the day they will see the president or any of his representatives they will chew him raw; that he is their brother but he has disappointed them and has disappointed Nigeria.

“I said even though I’m part of the government, I’m a churchman, I’m not a government official; they said okay, that is what has saved you, we would have killed you outright without asking for any ransom but now that you are a churchman, let’s go inside the bush.

“I trekked up for to 15 kilometres but I knew that we were rigmaroling, going up, going down and eventually at 11 pm they said okay now we can negotiate; each of us will pay N50 million and we are going to pay N150 million. I thought it was a joke; I said we were going to pay N10 million and they said what? Don’t say that; they lifted their knife to cut me, I said please hold on.”

According to the cleric, the leader of the group is about 35 years old while the others are about 18.

He said they had taken his rings, chain, and the money they had on them and insisted on N150 million ransom.

The clergyman said the abductors later reduced the ransom to N100 million, warning that if they negotiate, they would be killed.

“I said okay. We will pay you N100 million. After some time, they said where is the money and I said this is Sunday night, how can we get money this night and you know that there is this sit-at-home in Igbo land. We can’t afford the money now, be patient till morning, we will make contacts.”

Uche said the kidnappers lost patience, laid Bishop Dennis Mark down, raised a knife to cut him, while another pointed a gun at him (prelate) to show that they were serious,

“I told them we will raise the money for you. But the irony of it, where they were situated, the soldiers, all of Fulani extraction, Nigerian soldiers, they were there at Lomara junction and these boys were going behind them. Meanwhile, they kept their cows somewhere, numbering about 200.

He said some people were taking care of the cows while the abductors were parading them around the bush until they settled at a place,

“They said ‘when are you bringing the money?’ I said by 12 noon, I will call the people I’ve contacted whether the money had been raised and I called them, they said that they were gathering the money and they heard it because they said I will use my phone to talk, they can’t use their phone, they don’t want to be tracked.

“Their leader was born in Igbo land but his parents have died. He said he was born around Umuahia Amuzukwu and his father was a cow dealer, the boy understood Igbo,” he said.

He said the leader threatened to kill them if they informed security operatives when they had raised the ransom of N100 million.

The leader asked them to buy 5 ‘Ghana must go’ bags and put N20 million in each bag. They left to pick the ransom while four others stayed behind with guns.

He said, “Around 5. 30pm, the youngest boy who I think is a younger brother to their commander said ‘Oga, congratulations, you are free, you can go now. We have got our money, you can go. Let me show you the road’.

“They took us to Old road, where they wrote ‘welcome to Imo’ and ‘goodbye from Abia’.

“They told us that after buying enough weapons, they were going to bring all those people that were driven away from Zamfara, Katsina, Sambisa Forest, that they are all coming to locate themselves in Igbo land and deal with us.

“He said do you know Ibadan expressway? We are in all the bush there, we are also in the South-South, we are waiting for the slightest signal, we will finish you people and take over this land. They claimed that Nigeria belongs to Fulani.”

The priest maintained that military personnel of Fulani extraction were aiding the kidnappers who disguise as herders in the daytime but are kidnappers at night.

He called on the government to take a decisive action “otherwise what is happening in the north will be a child’s play”.

He said it was the Methodist Church Nigeria and members of the church that made efforts to secure his release and not security agencies of the government.

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