Ransom Negotiation for Release of Catholic Nuns Abducted in Nigeria Yet to Bear Fruit

Ewu Ishan Monastery, Nigeria. Credit: Ewu Ishan Monastery

Negotiations for ransom demanded for the safe release of three Catholic Nuns abducted from a Nigerian Benedictine Community have not yet been successful, Nigeria Catholic Network (NCN) has reported.

In the Monday, March 21 report, the media initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), and the National Directorate of Social Communications makes reference to an “update” from the Prior of Ewu Ishan Monastery.

“The latest news, this evening is that the kidnappers called the monastery requested for N20,000,000.00 (twenty million Naira),” NCN has reported referring to a sum of US$48,000.00 that the Benedictine Nuns in the Monastery of Kogi in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria were to give to secure the release of the three Sisters.

The Benedictine Nuns “pleaded that they do not have that amount” and explained “that they are poor and live on charity,” NCN has further reported, adding that after listening to the pleas of the Sisters, the kidnappers revised their figure downwards to US$45,600.00.

On their part, the Benedictine Nuns said they would offer the kidnappers US$240.00, an offer that was rejected. “The kidnappers told them to keep that money for the burial of the three sisters,” the Catholic media entity indicates in the March 21 report.


The Nuns continued to plead with the kidnappers who eventually told them to “come with what they have today and meet them at a particular spot in the forest.”

The Benedictine Nuns are said to have arrived at the agreed spot at 8 a.m. with triple the amount they had said they would offer. The kidnappers who continued to engage the Nuns on phone declined to accept the Nuns’ offer of US$721.00 even after 8 hours of negotiations. 

The Sisters pleaded from that time till about 4 p.m. when the kidnappers cut the phone call,” NCN has reported, adding that during the hours of negotiations, the Nuns who carried the ransom heard the voices of their kidnapped colleagues “crying and in terrible agony.”

“We go on praying, it is a better thing if they are released without any ransom paid, or if any, something very very small,” the leadership of the Benedictine Nuns of Nigeria’s Kogi Monastery has been quoted as saying in the NCN report. 

If ransom is paid, the Benedictine Nun adds, “the kidnappers will return or go to some other monasteries/religious communities, since it will then be taken as a lucrative business to go after such people.”

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“The Nigerian Catholic Church already said that nothing should be paid as ransom whenever Catholic Priest or Religious are kidnapped. Nonetheless, there were instances in the past where priests have been killed by kidnappers,” the leadership of the Benedictine Nuns is further quoted as saying.

The Nun also recalls occasions where abductors “have received money and still killed the person kidnapped.”

“These people cannot be predicted, so calling on God to intervene is still the best option,” the Benedictine Sister says in reference to those behind kidnappings in Nigeria, and adds, “We go on praying.”

“Once again, thank you and do not relent in prayer. I will let you know when we get any good news,” she says in NCN report published March 21.

The former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has reportedly condemned the kidnapping of the three Benedictine Nuns and called upon Nigeria’s “government and security agencies to ensure that the Nuns are rescued and the kidnappers brought to book.”


In a Monday, March 21 report, Mr. Obi, says the abduction of the three Benedictine Nuns is “a clear reminder of how bold criminality has become in the country.”

It is disheartening how our nation has continued to descend to abysmal levels of insecurity. Attacking innocent people in their homes and taking them hostage for ransom is a culture we must not allow to flourish in our nation,” Mr. Obi has been quoted as saying.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.