THE Anglican Archbishop of the Niger Delta North Diocese, the Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey and his wife,
Beatrice, were on Friday night kidnapped close to Port Harcourt in what the Rivers State Government called the latest evidence of the deteriorating security in the state under Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu.
The couple were abducted at Aleto-Eleme, the bishop’s home town at about 11.30pm.The wife was later abandoned in the couple’s car while the abductors went away with the clergy.
He is the second highest ranking official of the Church of Nigeria, being next only to the Primate, Dr. Nicholas Okoh.
Kattey and wife were on their way to Port Harcourt, when the kidnappers struck near the two Eleme Refinery and the Indorama-Eleme Petrochemical Company.
His whereabouts was unknown last night with the abductors yet to state their reason for seizing him. They have not demanded a ransom either.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi, in his first reaction to the kidnap blamed Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu for the rising insecurity in the state.
It was learnt yesterday that the kidnapped cleric was scheduled to receive the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in Port Harcourt yesterday and decided to leave his personal house in Aleto-Eleme for the Rivers State capital on Friday night to enable him put finishing touches to preparations for the arrival of the visitor.
It could not be confirmed at press time if Okoh was able to visit Rivers State.
Another source said the couple decided to set out for Port Harcourt that late to enable them beat the usual Saturday traffic restrictions occasioned by the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.
Unknown to them, however, the exercise had been cancelled in view of the ongoing WAEC/GCE examinations.
A senior member of the Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, who would not want his name in print, said the bishop detests the idea of going about with police escorts.
He chose to live in his personal house in Aleto-Eleme from where he goes to St. Paul Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt, which serves as his official base.
Kattey is described as a very simple and easy-going cleric. His kidnap occurred barely two weeks after the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Fred Igwe, was shot at Akpajo-Eleme in the same Eleme LGA on August 25.
Igwe was severely injured and is still receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
His car was riddled with bullets.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Angela Agabe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed Kattey’s kidnap and said the prompt response of the police to the kidnap forced the criminals to abandon Beatrice and the couple’s car.
Agabe was optimistic with the effort of the policemen, the Bishop would soon be released unhurt and the kidnappers apprehended and prosecuted.
Amaechi, through the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, regretted what he called the upsurge in kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, militancy and other vices in the state under Mbu.
The same Mbu, he alleged, has continued to allow ex-militants to protest on the streets of Port Harcourt, an action the governor said has emboldened criminals.
Amaechi had earlier called for Mbu’s immediate redeployment, which he described as the only condition for peace in Rivers State, having accused the CP of taking sides in the deepening political crisis.