Hours after Christian Leaders Appeal to President, Head of Methodist Church Released

Head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Bishop Samuel Kanu released after hours in captivity. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria who had been reportedly kidnapped last Sunday, May 29 has regained freedom hours after officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued a statement appealing to the country’s President to give “an express order” to security officers to have “clerics and other innocent Nigerians” released immediately.

Bishop Samuel Kanu “was travelling with two other priests on a highway in the south-eastern state of Abia when they were kidnapped,” BBC reported.


In a May 30 statement shared with ACI Africa, officials of the Christian entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) had urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to give an express order to the security agencies to free them immediately and stop the incessant abduction of clerics and other innocent Nigerians forthwith.”

They said the Nigerian President needed “to do all within his powers to get these servants of God released very soon and unhurt.”


In the statement signed by the Special Assistant to CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Christian leaders said the abduction of a renowned Methodist Bishop without any intervention from the security officers “speaks volume of what our security architecture has become.”

CAN officials expressed concern about the West African country’s worsening insecurity saying, “This is no more a country one can be proud of.” 

They said the situation in Nigeria “is not good for our nation at all” and that “no reasonable government can continue to leave the citizens in a terrible state of insecurity as we are presently.”

Africa’s most populous country has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.

The group has been organizing random terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

More in Africa

The security situation in Nigeria has been worsened by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen who have been conflicting with Christian farmers.

Kidnappings for ransom have also become common in the country. 

The abduction of the head of the Methodist church in Nigeria and clerics who accompanied are the latest incidents of attacks targeting Christian leaders in Africa’s most populous nation.

On May 25, two Catholic Priests serving in the Diocese of Sokoto were kidnapped after gunmen broke into their residence at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Gidan Maikambo, Kafur LGA of Katsina State. 

Fr. Stephen Ojapah, a member of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul of Nigeria, Fr. Oliver Okpara, and two boys who were at the Priests’ residence are yet to be traced. 


In the May 30 statement, CAN officials called “on Christians and well-meaning Nigerians to join us in praying for” the immediate release of those who remain in the hands of their captors.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.