Anglican priest, Rev. Anthony Jata’u’s killers in Gusau , Zamfara State are now demanding 10 million naira ransom for the release of his family.
The late Priest was abducted on Thursday night by kidnappers along with his wife, three children and two sisters-in-law. He was killed and his body dumped by the roadside, where it was found on Saturday.
“The bandits shot at the car he was driving and dragged him and the occupants out as the vehicle skidded off the road . His body was recovered two days later , but his family members were taken away,” a source said.
An anonymous source from the Diocese of Sokoto, who confirmed the development to Punch newspaper, said that the kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 10 million for the release of the victims.
“Everybody is sad at the moment and afraid for the lives of his family members still in the custody of the bandits. The church doesn’t have such money but it’s hoping to raise a substantial sum to secure the release of the victims. The abductors separated the kids into different locations as it was glaring when they called and asked them to speak with the person whose mobile telephone the victims gave them. There is panic among worshippers as time is ticking and no one knows what their next line of action will be. Security agencies are aware of the case but there is nothing yet.”
Jata’u, from South Kaduna, had studied at the Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary in Abeokuta, in Ogun State, prior to ordination. He was on his way to a new posting in Katsina State when gunman opened fire on the car in Zamfara state, forcing it to skid off the road.
The reports also say that Jata’u had survived a previous kidnapping, in September 2006, while serving at St Andrew’s Church in the Diocese of Nnewi.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that he was “deeply distressed and saddened” by the news.
“My prayers and those of the whole community at Lambeth Palace are with the family of the Reverend Anthony Idris Jata’u, who grieve even as they continue to be held in captivity and great danger”, he said.
“May God draw near them in comfort, and bring the freedom and justice that are so urgently needed. We pray too for the church led by the Reverend Jata’u, for all those suffering persecution for their faith, and for the whole nation of Nigeria, that Jesus Christ would light the path away from violence and towards peace.” he added.