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Kidnapped rev sisters freed, hold thanksgiving mass

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Edo State.

The Catholic Diocese of Benin Metropolitan See yesterday held a thanksgiving mass for the safe return of three reverend sisters and three aspiring reverend sisters from kidnappers den in Ovia South West local government area of Edo State.

Gunmen had on November 3, 2017 stormed the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Convent in Iguoriakhi, Ovia South West local government area and abducted their victims. The sisters spent 53 days in the kidnappers den before they were reportedly rescued after their abductors fled.

Those abducted were Sister Veronica Ajayi, Sister Roseline Isiocha and Sister Frances Udi, while the aspirants were Maria Massingne, Anne Ocheni and Vivian Iwhu.

Archbishop of Benin Catholic Diocese, Bishop Obinna Akubeze, urged the Federal Government to treat criminality as criminality. Bishop Akubeze said the mass was to thank God for answering their prayers they offered in faith.

Akubeze said the government should act as a government when in dealing with crimes and issues of herdsmen. “Six of our sisters were kidnapped by unknown gunmen and we have been praying. We are thanking God for answering our prayers. Our prayers were effective and they were freed. We thanked the police and DSS. They really worked. The youths should be given jobs.

“With faith in God, we saw it through. The government should act as a responsive government. They should treat criminality as criminality and all these nonsense of killing, kidnappings will stop. A herdsman cannot destroy your crops and kill you. Killing is a crime. Government should do their work.

“The kidnappers should repent. If they continue their way, God will forgive them and they will join the society again. Some people want them to be killed but we want them to repent and begin to behave like good citizens,” he said.

Recounting their ordeal in the kidnappers den, Sister Veronica Ajayi, described it as horrible and painful. She said their constant prayers made one of the kidnappers wanting to learn the ways of God.

“The experience with the kidnappers has helped me to trust in God more. This experience will help me to help others keep their faith in God. We were sleeping when they came. When they were taking us away, I kept trusting that God has a reason for it. We were praying for the kidnappers.

“They also say their own prayers. One of them wanted to learn our prayers. They did not say why we were kidnapped. We were praying for their conversion.”

Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, said the new security architecture being planned with security chiefs would help to secure all parts of the state.

“We already have a security architecture with the security chiefs, which we are working on to ensure all parts of the state is secured. With the policy government has put in place for employment and expansion of our economy, we will be able to pull out a lot of these youth to the labour market and kidnapping will be eradicated in Edo.”



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