The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has said that the Catholic Church will not pay ransom, and has never done so to free any kidnapped priest. Ezeokafor, who was reacting to the kidnap of a priest, Rev. Father Christopher Ogaga, in Aragba, Oviri-Okpe, Okpe Local Government, Delta State recently, and the eventual demand for N15million ransom, said it will be foolhardy and unimaginable for the universal church to pay for the release of any abducted priest.
The cleric, who spoke at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, emphatically said the reason the mother church did not pay ransom to kidnappers was because the Church relied solely on people’s benevolence and goodwill for her survival. He wondered why anyone in their right senses would ever think of kidnapping a priest of God, let alone requesting ransom from the Church. He added that Catholic priests owned nothing and therefore had nothing to give to anybody.
“Catholic priests live on parishioners’ benevolence. Whatever they receive as gifts are what they live with, no additional income anywhere. They have given up everything – children, accumulation of wealth, owning and acquisition of property. “They sacrificed their earthly pleasures just to serve God and humanity. They need prayers, help, encouragement and not this type of treatment. “These people are working for God and humanity. They are not being paid. They rely solely on people’s assistance, goodwill and kind gestures for their survival. Why go after those working out your salvation? I cannot understand it,” Bishop Ezeokafor said. Meanwhile, Fr Ogaga was last week rescued by men of the Nigeria Police Force in Delta State.