The President of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria, Rev. Emmanuel Dziggau and two other pastors, Rev. Yakubu Dzarma and Rev. Iliya Anto who were kidnapped in Kaduna, March 21 by unknown gunmen have been finally been freed. Unfortunately, Anto was said to have died after he was left in the bush by the kidnappers because of his poor health.
Spokesman for the Kaduna State Police Command, Zubairu Abubakar, confirmed the freedom of the two religious leaders as well as the death of one of them.
A top official of United Church of Christ who pleaded anonymity said the men were freed on Wednesday night while the corpse of Rev. Anto was found, almost decomposing in the bush, adding that the two clergymen were immediately taken to a private hospital in Kaduna after they were brought to the church along Katsina Road in Kaduna metropolis. The anonymous source said:
“They were not looking very good and as soon as they brought them, a decision was taken that they needed to see a doctor, so they were taken to a private hospital in Kaduna for medical checkups, but I will not tell you the hospital because they need some rest. We don’t want people to disturb them until they are psychologically and physically fit to see people.
“The person who went to collect them drove them on a bike from where they dropped them for four hours before they could reach a motorable road. This is very traumatic and they need some rest.”
He said a day after their abduction, the kidnappers had called to inform that Anto was not well and they had dropped him at a location in the bush.
“But when we dispatched people to the location to save him, we couldn’t find him after combing the area. The kidnappers who may have been watching us from their hideout said we sent too many people to pick him, so they refused to give further description of the location and we thought they must have gone with him.”
The source, however, refused to say whether a ransom was paid for the release of the two kidnapped clergies or not. It would be recalled that after their abduction, the kidnappers had used the mobile phone of late Rev. Iliya Anto (rtd) to call demanding N100 million ransom.