Abuja - Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Ayo Oritsejafor has called for the unconditional release of the kidnapped Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey.
This call is contained in a statement issued by Kenny Ashaka, the Media Assistant to Oritsejafor, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Oristejafor called on Kattey’s abductors, at Eleme, Rivers, on September 6, to release him as mark of atonement for their "sacrilegious" act.
Kattey is also the Archbishop of Niger Delta Province and Bishop of Niger Delta North Diocese of the church.
The statement stated that Oritsejafor received with a feeling of dismay the news of the kidnapping Kattey.
The CAN president appealed to the kidnappers to release Kattey unconditionally and unharmed as a means of atoning for the sacrilege they have committed.
He said that kidnapping had taken an alarming dimension, and had become the most glaring evidence of growing insecurity in the country.
Oritsejafor said while the activities of the kidnappers were awash with abducted Nigerians, the manner of abduction, the location from where those kidnapped were freed remained a mystery.
The CAN president said that given the cost of freedom in some instances, government seemed to be incapable of dealing with the situation.
Oritsejafor called on government and all stakeholders to match the spate of kidnappings with the necessary force and punishment.
He said that kidnappers must be treated like armed robbers and severely sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.
Oritsejafor expressed worries that if the crime of kidnapping was not matched with harsh or severe punishments, the country might be in for worse situation than it was.
In the same statement, Oritsejafor congratulated the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Sunday Makinde, on his retirement from active pastoral service.
"Makinde crystallised the Methodist theme and expanded the adherent base. In his sermons and preaching, he always emphasised social issues.
"As he retires, we in CAN urge him to concentrate on establishing a dialogue in the Christian family that will lead to the attainment of the dreams of CAN," Oristejafor said.
The CAN president congratulated the new Prelate, the Most Rev. Samuel Uche, and urged him to continue to inspire Christians.
"We wish that the great potential and dynamism he is bringing into the office of the Prelate of the Methodist Church will rub off on the Church in Nigeria and all Christians."