Ransom Negotiations for Safe Release of Catholic Priest in Nigerian Diocese “ongoing”

Fr. Christopher Itopa Onotu, kidnapped in Nigeria's Lokoja Diocese on 4 June 2022. Credit: Lokoja Diocese

Negotiations for ransom are going on to secure the safe release of Fr. Christopher Itopa Onotu who was reportedly abducted from his residence at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish of Lokoja Diocese in Nigeria.

The Chancellor of Lokoja Diocese has, in a statement shared with ACI Africa, confirmed the abduction of Fr. Onotu and appealed for prayers for his safe release.

“We have received the sad story of the kidnap of our brother and Priest, Rev. Fr. Christopher Itopa Onotu, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Obangede, Kogi State,” Fr. Augustine Okafor says.

In the statement dated Sunday, June 5, the Chancellor adds in reference to Fr. Onotu, “From the story, it is apparent that he was kidnapped from the rectory last night together with his vehicle.”

In an interview with ACI Africa Monday, June 6, a Catholic Priest who did not want to be named said, “The kidnappers have made contact with the Diocese and they are asking 50,000,000 Naira ransom,” an amount equivalent to about US$120,500.00.


“The negotiation is ongoing,” the Priest said, adding that the meetings about how to go about the ransom demand are taking place.

In his June 5 statement, the Chancellor of Lokoja Diocese appealed for prayers for the abducted Priest. 

Fr. Okafor said in reference to his kidnapped colleague, “Let us keep him in our prayers and (offer Holy) Masses for (his) safety and quick release. May Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual help intercede for us and may Saint Michael the archangel safeguard him, Amen.”

On June 5, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Williams Aya, said the Commissioner of Police, Edward Egbuka, had deployed a high-power intelligent team to rescue the abducted Catholic Priest, unhurt.

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.