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TEARS flowed freely at the Otukpo family residence of a Catholic priest, Very Rev Fr John Adeyi, parish priest of St Bernard Catholic Church, Okpoga, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, yesterday, after his decomposed body was found in the bush, a few kilometres to the local government education office in Otukpa, Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the state. It would be recalled that Fr Adeyi, who was also the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, was kidnapped on April 10 at Odoba, along Enugu Road, after he went to mediate in a crisis between the parishioners and the parish priest of Odoba at the behest of Bishop Michael Apochi, the Catholic Bishop of Otukpo. The cause of the crisis in Odoba, Nigerian Pilot gathered from reliable sources, was caused by the refusal of the parish priest, Rev Fr Peter Ewache Johnson, to dedicate a new church building built by a politician in the area for worship. However, after late Fr Adeyi had successfully resolved the crisis and was returning to Okpoga, some unknown persons carrying dangerous weapons on a motor cycle intercepted his vehicle, pulled him down and took him to an unknown destination. Since then, people from all walks of life had
condemned his abduction and appealed to the kidnappers to release him. Notable among them was Governor Samuel Ortom who announced a reward of N5million for anybody who has information regarding his whereabouts. A family source informed Nigerian Pilot that even though the Catholic Mission had refused to pay ransom for any kidnapped priest, Fr Adeyi’s family who wanted him released at all cost paid the ransom of N2million on April 20, 2016. In spite of that, the kidnappers still went ahead to kill him. A source who said his corpse had already decomposed said he was dressed in his cassock in a coffin which was kept at a farmland behind the education office. Reliable sources disclosed that the late priest might have been killed by a kidnap syndicate which had its base in Kogi State. According to one of the sources, the recent release of one abducted medical doctor by the kidnappers may have blown their hideout, since some of them were said to have been arrested by the police. They were alleged to have quartered their victims at Upu village in Otukpo and moved them out mostly at night to prevent them from knowing their location. However, the medical doctor was said to have listened to an argument between a commercial
motorcycle rider and his passenger over fare, where the passenger had said that the charge by the rider from Otukpo town to Upu village was exorbitant and then concluded that the location he was being kept was Upu. The late priest was allegedly moved to Kogi State after the arrest of some of the kidnappers, some of whom were allegedly arrested in Lokoja last Tuesday. When contacted on phone, the state Commissioner of Police, Paul Yakadi said he would get back after confirming from his colleague in Kogi State, but never did. Even the state police spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu who promised to confirm the incident failed to do so after several calls. However, the body of the late priest has been taken to the mortuary at St Vincent Hospital, Aliade, Gwer Local Government Area of the state. Meanwhile, Governor Ortom has confirmed during a town hall meeting in Oju yesterday that the skeleton of late Fr Adeyi was discovered three kilometres away from the road and added that he has directed the police and medical personnel to collect the skeleton for post-mortem. The governor, who asked for the observation of one minute silence for the repose of the soul of Fr. Adeyi, vowed that his abductors and killers must be brought to book.

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