Many Nigerians can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed due to the rampant abduction of citizens in the various communities and cities within Nigeria. This reality has forced Nigerians to live in fear of falling victim.
The ugly tales of released victims and the huge demand by abductors contribute to the level of insecurity under which Nigerians go about their normal activities. Most captives are beaten, raped, maltreated, abused and malnourished leaving them with lifelong trauma. The inability of families and friends of some kidnapped victims to come forth with the ransom demanded by these kidnappers most times result in the death of the victims.
In recent times, the kidnapping of men who appear to be the oracle of God and the instrument He uses to communicate His will to the people, is alarming. The Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche from Abia State revealed that the church paid ransom of N100 million to secure freedom for him and two other Priests following their abduction. He narrated the ordeal they passed through in the hands of their abductors while acknowledging the hand of God in protecting and safeguarding their lives as they passed through torture in captivity.
Kanu-Uche stated that neither the security agencies nor the government played any role in securing their release. A Nigerian Cleric, Apostle John Okoriko, was abducted by gunmen in Akwa Ibom state and the kidnappers demanded a N100 million ransom but later reduced it to N30 million. The surge in the kidnaping of church leaders is giving a worrisome twist to an already deteriorated situation. It appears that these kidnaps are coordinated and targeted at Christians. The recent release of kidnapped Christians in Kaduna was speculated to have only happened after a heavy amount was paid twice.
There are those who ask why churches should succumb to negotiating with bandits and paying ransom? But should the church be pushed to the dilemma of gambling with the lives of church members kidnapped by bandits or unknown gunmen, in the name of not wanting to pay ransom as it is an indirect way of funding insecurity? Would the early churches have done the same, allow members get killed as part of the price for the gospel or take to prayers in securing the release of her members?
In all these, there are also those who feel ransom payment is faith in action as well as intervention in ensuring abductees regain freedom, meaning that the prayers have been answered.
Some others believe that payment of ransom by the church is a work without faith just like giving bribe in return for favours, therefore, Christians must emulate faith in the scriptures and depend on God for their freedom. Government should also live up to their responsibilities as these times call for a responsive government to live up to the oath they swore at their assumption into offices.
The church is a centre of righteousness and a responsive arm in ensuring compliance to civic obligations in maintenance of law and order, preaching the goodwill message of social responsivity to it congregation, and as such, reducing crime and all forms of social vices in the society.
Apparently, the times we are in and the situation at hand calls for an increase of faith in God through prayers. God has delivered many from bandits and criminals without them doing anything. He still performs many wonders that we read, see and hear every day. Prayers are still relevant and we should do as Christ taught us to “Watch and Pray”.
Christians should also walk in wisdom as recorded in the scriptures, Colossians 4:5, in their movements and be ever security conscious as God has given wisdom. We should avoid all forms of evil and be steadfast in prayers for our leaders and the nation as a whole.