The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, the Most Rev Dr Samuel Kanu Uche, has been released after being abducted on Sunday 29 May.
He had officiated at a Sunday service and was travelling in the afternoon with his chaplain, Abidemi Jeremiah Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, Dennis Mark, on a road in Abia State, Nigeria, when they were kidnapped by gunmen.
The three men were freed on the evening of 30 May.
News of their release was greeted with jubilation by Methodist Church members who had been praying for their safe return.
The abduction of such a prominent church leader and his companions had been widely condemned. A spokesman for the Methodist Church had described it as “a sacrilege, an abomination and height of national and international embarrassment”.
The Christian Association of Nigeria pointed out that ten church clerics had been kidnapped already this year, and two had been killed by their captors.
It called on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to “stop the incessant abduction of clerics and other innocent Nigerians”.
The statement added, “If a great servant of God … could be kidnapped like a three-year-old baby on a major road without any resistance from the police, it speaks volumes of what our security architecture has become.”