Four Catholic Reverend Fathers were kidnapped by unknown gunmen around Umutu/Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
The abducted priests include Rev. Fr. Victor Adigboluja of Ijebu Ode Diocese, Rev. Fr. Anthony Otegbola, Abeokuta Diocese, Rev. Fr. Joseph Idiaye, Benin Archdiocese and Rev. Fr. Obadjere Emmanuel of the Diocese of Warri.
The priests were en route to Ekpoma, Edo State, from Warri, Delta State, in a convoy on Tuesday when they were attacked by unidentified gunmen and whisked away.
The priests were travelling in a convoy of four vehicles, but the assailants could only overrun two of the cars, ordering the four priests out.
It was gathered that vehicles conveying the priests had been rescued by the team of anti-kidnapping policemen drafted from Delta and Edo states.
Muhammad Mustafa, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, confirmed the abduction but said the kidnappers were not herdsmen as first suspected.
Meanwhile, the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has condemned the kidnaping of the four priests. Ortom, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the abduction as barbaric, dehumanizing and shameful.
While unconfirmed reports claim the victims were abducted by suspected herdsmen, the governor wondered why armed herdsmen have chosen to make harmless clergymen targets of attacks, and stressed that the motive of the perpetrators is clearly beyond mere grazing of cattle.
According to the governor, the people of Benue are still mourning the killing of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers by herdsmen in Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Area of the state earlier this year.
He urged security agencies to act swiftly to ensure the release of the kidnapped priests and called on other Nigerians to rise in condemnation of persistent attacks on innocent people, particularly the current spate of violence against the clergy.