BY PETER DURU
Benue South was jolted by the discovery of the decomposing remains of the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Rev. Fr. John Adeyi, who was kidnapped over two months ago by some armed men.
Adeyi’s skeleton was found behind the office complex of Ogbadibo Local Government Education Authority at Otukpa, his home town, by a search party that had combed the area to locate him. He had been abducted at Odoba village, along the busy Otukpo-Enugu Road after mediating in a crisis between parishioners and the parish priest of Odoba at the behest of the Catholic Bishop of Otukpo, Bishop Michael Apochi. However, the priest had successfully resolved the crisis and was returning to Okpoga, when the armed men, on motorcycle, intercepted his vehicle and abducted him to an unknown destination.
His disappearance sparked angry reactions from his family members and the Catholic faithful in Benue who, at the time, warned that the priest had health challenges. It was learned that after his abduction, the kidnappers made an overture to his family demanding N2million ransom.
It was reliably gathered that the said amount was paid for his release but the abductors held on to him. At the heat of his disappearance, Benue State government issued a statement, promising N5million reward for anyone with valid information on his whereabouts.
The government also went ahead to organise a search party for the cleric. Adeyi’s kidnapping came on the heels of cases of abduction of innocent citizens in parts of Benue. In most of the cases, the abductees regained their freedom after huge ransoms were paid.
When Sunday Vanguard visited the Otukpo family residence of the deceased cleric, located at number 21 Otukpa Street, sympathizers were seen commisserating with his octogenarian mother, Mama Martha Kate Adeyi. Bereaved Mama Adeyi, who spoke through an interpreter, told Sunday Vanguard that the kidnapping of her son and murder came to her as rude shock. She said as she wept: “Since I heard of his kidnapping over two months ago, I had been praying fervently for his safe return but, unfortunately, I heard yesterday that my son has been killed.
“Fr. John had no problems with anybody, he served God and humanity with all his being, soul, spirit and body. He didn’t deserve the treatment they meted to him as a servant of God. “I am heartbroken, devastated but God knows why it happened this way.
I thank everyone who showed concern about his abduction and eventual death. “I’m only pleading with government and law enforcement agencies to do justice in this matter by ensuring the arrest of the masterminds of this unfortunate incident. It is only then that Fr. John will find peace and the family will also be consoled.” Reacting to the sad development, an umbrella body of the Idomas, the Opiatoha K’ Idoma, condemned the killing of the priest.
In a statement by the Secretary General of the organization, Chief Adoka Adaji, the group said: “The killing of Fr. Adayi by kidnappers shows the level of wickedness of some people and security lapses in our society. “It is amazing that Fr. Adeyi whose body was recovered in the bush was killed within his Otukpa community. It means we are no longer our brothers’ keepers’ in Idoma land otherwise his kidnappers and killers would have been exposed”. Meantime, the Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Michael Apochi, was yet to issue a statement over the heinous murder as he was said to be in deep shock since the news broke.
On his part, Governor Samuel Ortom who was the first to broke the news of the discovery at a town hall meeting in Oju, last Wednesday, said that the skeleton of Adeyi was discovered three kilometers away from the road, adding that on receiving the report from security operatives, he directed the police and medical personnel to collect the skeleton of the deceased for postmortem. Ortom, who fought back tears as he spoke, vowed to do everything possible to ensure that the abductors and killers of the cleric were brought to justice. Benue State Police Command Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu, who also confirmed the discovery of the decomposing remains of the deceased at Otukpa by a team of police and medical personnel, said his corpse had been deposited at a morgue.
How Rev. Fr. John Adeyi was foud dead after abductors collected N2M ransom Reviewed by Link Naija on 01:19 Rating: