“Full of gratitude for prayerful solidarity”: Catholic Priest Abducted from Onitsha Archdiocese, Nigeria, Set Free

Fr. Basil Gbuzuo, abducted on May 15 along Eke Nkpor-Obosi bypass in the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha in Nigeria regains freedom. Credit: Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha

Fr. Basil Gbuzuo, the Catholic Priest who, was abducted on May 15 along Eke Nkpor-Obosi bypass in the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha in Nigeria has been set free.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa on Saturday, May 25, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Archdiocese is thankful and shares about the release of Fr. Gbuzuo.

“With hearts full of joy and gratitude to God, we wish to inform the general public that Rev. Fr. Basil Gbuzuo, a Priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha has regained his freedom,” Fr. Prudentius Aroh, says in the statement dated Friday, May 24.

Fr. Gbuzuo is “full of gratitude and appreciation for your prayerful solidarity”, the Chancellor of Onitsha Archdiocese says about his colleague, who he adds “was abandoned by his abductors on Thursday, 23rd May 2024 somewhere around Ufuma at midnight.”

Fr. Aroh extends the appreciation of the Local Ordinary of Onitsha, Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke to all the Clergy, women and men Religious, and all men and women of goodwill for their “prayers and solidarity in this trying moment in the life of our Archdiocese.”


“We also thank the Anambra State Government led by Prof. C. C. Soludo CFR, for his solidarity and for assigning his Special Adviser on Security Matters, AVM Ben Chiobi to lead the rescue team. The team really did a wonderful work,” the Chancellor further says.

He goes on to thank the Parish Priest of Holy Cross Parish of Onitsha Archdiocese, Fr. Alex Ezema, who he says “happily welcomed Fr. Gbuzuo to his house when he came knocking at midnight.”

“He provided him with the basic necessities and took good care of him. We have happily received Fr. Gbuzuo back into the Archdiocesan Priestly Family,” Fr. Aroh says, extending gratitude to “our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for her powerful intervention.”

In his earlier statement following the abduction of Fr. Gbuzuo, the Chancellor of Onitsha Archdiocese had appealed for prayers. He invited “all Christ's faithful and all men and women of goodwill to earnestly pray for the quick and safe release of the Priest as we intensify our efforts to ensure his freedom.”

The May 15 kidnapping of Fr. Gbuzuo is the latest in a series of abductions that have targeted members of the Clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.

More in Africa

On May 21, the Catholic Diocese of Yola in Nigeria announced the abduction of Fr. Oliver Buba and appealed for his “quick and safe release”.

The West African nation has been battling with a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing.

Boko Haram insurgency has been a major challenge in Nigeria since 2009, a group that allegedly aims to turn the country into an Islamic nation.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.