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Members of the Taraya Ekklesiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria, TEKAN), have been thrown into confusion following the kidnapping of their President, Dr. Emmanuel Dziggau.
Dziggau was said to have been kidnapped on Monday along with his deputy, Rev. Illiya Anto, and a retired reverend in the church, Yakubu Dzarma.
Anto was later released on health grounds.
TEKAN General Secretary, Rev. Moses Ebuga, told newsmen in Jos on Tuesday that the three men were kidnapped in Kaduna.
Dziggau is also the president of Haddiyar Ekklesiya Kristi A Nigeria (United Church of Christ in Nigeria) and the TEKAN/ECWA bloc leader in the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The three men were said to have been kidnapped at the church crusade ground along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on Monday morning.
It was learnt that the masked gunmen stormed the crusade ground and picked the three men while other church members fled.
The General Secretary of the church and one of the eyewitnesses, Rev Jibrailu Wobiya, who confirmed the abduction to one of our correspondents, said Dziggau and some members were at the area to clear the crusade ground for a forthcoming church programme.
Ebuga called on the Federal Government and security operatives to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the clergymen.
He said the kidnappers had contacted him and demanded a ransom of N100m.
Ebuga described the abduction of the clerics as shocking, calling for their immediate release.
He said the three men might have been kidnapped because of the oncoming CAN national election.
He added, “We are not ignorant of the recent scheming against the Nigerian church with regard to the upcoming CAN national election, where the leaders have become the subject of attacks, particularly the leadership of TEKAN/ECWA bloc in CAN.
“As a body, we are calling on the government to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the leaders, unearth their whereabouts and to have the perpetrators fished out.
Ebuga called on the TEKAN churches and the Nigerian church to rise up in prayer against the ugly development, asking them to pray that God would expose the sponsors and perpetrators of the kidnapping.
The Kaduna State Police Command had yet to confirm the kidnapping of the pastors on Tuesday.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Abubakar Zubairu, did not return repeated telephone calls to his mobile.
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, Rev. George Dodo, described the pastors’ abduction as “unpleasant and shocking.”
The CAN’s chairman, while confirming the incident, said he just heard of the “unpleasant” development on Tuesday, calling on security agencies to do all they could to unmask the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
Dodo stated, “I heard about it this afternoon; it is an unpleasant news, a shocking news to everybody. Government should put in motion all its security apparatus to ensure the liberation of those abducted.”
The spokesman for the Northern States CAN, Rev. Josesph Hayab, condemned the abduction of the clerics.
He called on the kidnappers to release the three men unconditionally or be prepared to incur the wrath of God.