Kidnapped And Forgotten: Rev. Fr. John Adeyi And The Conspiracy Of Silence

By Cletus Emoche Agada

The increasing wave of violent crimes across the land raised its ugly head again two weeks ago in Benue state when the highly revered Rev’d Fr. John Adeyi was kidnapped along the Highway, on his way from Okpoga to Otukpa, and taken to an unknown destination by equally unknown men.

The first news of this ugly incident came from Prince Yemi Itodo, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Daybreak Newspapers, who posted it on his Facebook page and later followed up with an update on the ransom demand by the kidnappers. Curiously, however, Mr Itodo later posted that he has been asked to discontinue any update on the matter by people whom he would not name. They even went further to ask him to pull down his earlier posts, and, for the Yemi that I’ve come to know to oblige this request, it must mean that those behind it must be powerful people in the society, most likely from the security establishment.

Whoever must have been behind such an order, what Prince Itodo did was an act of cowardice that has rubbed off on all of us as the hours have now become days, and days have now rolled into weeks; without a single hint about Fr. Adeyi’s whereabouts. Worse still is that we manage to, individually and collectively, sleep and wake up as if nothing has happened.

Rev. Fr. John Adeyi is an avant-garde trailblazer. As the first person to venture into Catholic Priesthood from Otukpa, Fr. Adeyi became a household name in Idomaland during his Priestly Ordination when the Legendary Idoma Gospel Singer, Peter Owoicho Otulu, dedicated a track in one of his albums to his strides. A simple man of very humble disposition, Fr. Adeyi is the kind that cannot hurt a fly, either by physical disposition or spiritual orientation, it will, therefore, be a surprise if there is any other motive behind this criminal act other than monetary gain; which, in any case, would be least likely because the reverend gentleman cannot even be counted among the rich or wealthy.

Considering the foregoing, a few questions readily come to mind: are there no authorities and agencies constituted with the duty of maintenance of lives and property or the management of security and protection of citizens? Are there no documented channels of reporting incidences such as kidnaps and molestations or blackmails and threats? If such exist and if reports have been deposed to, what actions, therefore, have the responsible agencies taken?

Considering Rev’d Father John Adeyi’s continued detention by his abductors weeks after the incident was reported to the Benue State Command of the Nigerian Police Force, one posits that somebody must be Responsible, some other unit be Accountable, yet another agency being Consulted and we, the People must be Informed on activities and actions being undertaken to secure the release of the reverend clergyman. By extension, it must either be deduced or inferred that his continued detention implies failure, either by commission or omission; by collusion or abnegation or dereliction of said duties by Security Personnel and Key Stakeholders in the Security Architecture of both the State and Federal Governments.

We must not allow Rev’d Fr. John Adeyi to go the way of the Chibok Girls!

We do believe it is time for a conscience call to all and sundry; a call to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, before he accuses us of exaggeration again, to investigate and facilitate the release of Fr. Adeyi by any means possible and reunite him with his family and community without further delay.

The DSS, the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army (that superintends the 72 Brigade Command in Benue), the State Government that specialises in sloganeering, Benue Traditional Leaders, Local Chiefs and all men of good will must join their hands together to make sure that Fr. Adeyi is released by his captors unhurt.

It’s quite unfortunate that the Conference of Catholic Bishops will go and share a cup of tea at the Presidential Villa with the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari at a time that an integral member of the Clergy, Fr Adeyi, remains in the Kidnappers den and will not extract a single word of commitment from Mr President about accelerating his release, if at all his case was mentioned.

Finally, perhaps if Rev’d Fr Adeyi’s abductors are chanced to read this write-up, I implore them to release this innocent man of faith unconditionally to avoid the judgement of the Almighty God.

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