Grief and rage have taken over the Ikabigbo community in Etsako West local government area of Edo State following killing of a Catholic Priest Reverend Father Christopher Odia by gunmen who abducted him while preparing for Sunday Mass in the early hours of the morning.
Reverend Father Odia, according to a statement issued by the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, was killed by his abductors, who whisked him away around 6.30 am from his rectory at Ikabigbo, Uzairue.
The tragic incident has thrown the entire community and the Catholic Church into mourning with a statement by the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Rev. Fr. Peter Egielewa, saying the 41-year-old clergyman was until his gruesome murder, the principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School, Jattu.
The Director of Social Communications statement said; “With heavy hearts, but with total submission to the will of God, we announce the death of our priest Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia, who was killed by his abductors after being kidnapped this morning 26th June 2022 at about 6.30 am in his rectory while coming out to go for Sunday Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church Ikabigbo, Uzairue, Edo State.
“Until his death, Fr Odia was the Administrator of St Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo, and also the Principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School Jattu. He was aged 41. May his soul rest in peace. Burial arrangements will be announced by the Diocese later.”
However, reports indicate that some brave youths in the Community had chased after the kidnappers and were able to apprehend one of them, who during the confrontation, injured several persons, including a woman said to have been hit by a stray bullet but survived it.
Meanwhile, a community leader, who did not want his name in print for obvious security reasons, hinted that last night “Our boys pursued the kidnappers into the bush and they killed one of our boys but the mass servant who was shot is in Otibhor (ISTH) right now and he just came out of the theater and he survived it, it was the vigilante that died.
“Our boys went after them and were able to arrest one of the kidnappers who has confessed to the crime and he is presently at the Area Command of the Police in Auchi. After the incident, our boys surrounded the area and they started shooting anybody, they even shot a woman that was coming from the farm after they killed the vigilante member, they shot so many people.
“Everybody in our village is a warrior, when they killed the vigilante, the people mobilized and started pursuing the kidnappers with their bare hands.”
Confirming the unfortunate incident when contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor said a detailed briefing was still being expected from the police in the area.