The Christian Association of Nigeria has declared Kaduna dangerous terrain for Christian leaders, as Reverend Father John Cheitum remains was found, increasing the rate of priest kidnapping in the country.
The priests were abducted after they arrived for a parish function at the church, according to the Kaduna Diocese.
In a report by TVC News, the security operatives who were on a rescue mission confirmed that they found the lifeless body of a man on a farm in a nearby village. The remains have been deposited at a morgue in Zonkowa.
Meanwhile, the security operatives suspect that the cleric might have been killed by his abductors, while they confirmed that the second victim, Fr. Cleopas has regained freedom.
Fr. Cleopas, who reportedly regained freedom about 30 minutes after the dead body of his colleague was found, was said to have been taken to the Kafachan Catholic in Jema’a Local Government Area.
On this note, the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state has described the state a dangerous terrain for Christian leaders following the discovery of the decomposing remains of to the slain priest.
The Chairman of CAN in the state, Rev. John Hayab, expressed this while reacting to the killing of the priest on Tuesday.
Rev. Cheitnum was, until his death, the CAN Chairman of Jema’a Local Government Area of the state as well as coordinator of CAN in Southern Kaduna.
“Kaduna State a dangerous place to travel around and not safe for Christian leaders,” Hayab said.
He, however, said they were consoled that Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas, who was kidnapped with Rev. Fr. Cheitnum, escaped from his abductors.
The Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan confirmed the murder of Rev.Fr. Cheitnum on Tuesday.
This was made known in a statement by the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okolo.
The statement read, “Sequel to the announcement of the two kidnapped priests from our diocese, we wish to announce that Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas escaped from his abductors and has reunited with us.
However, it is with a deep sense of sorrow and pains that the Bishop, Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Diocese of Kafanchan announce the gruesome murder of Very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum.
Fr. John Mark, who was abducted from the rectory of Christ the King Parish YadinGaru, Lere L.G.A of Kaduna State, was brutally killed by his abductors on the same day of his abduction; Friday 15th July, 2022.
Until his demise, he was the CAN Chairman, Jama’a LGA, as well as the Coordinating Chairman of CAN, Southern Kaduna. Fr. Cheitnum was the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, Director of Communications in the Diocese of Kafanchan and the Pastor of St. James Parish Fori, Jama’a LGA, Kaduna State.”
The statement added that his burial was slated for Thursday, July 21, 2022 at the Cathedral of St. Peter Kafanchan, Kaduna State, at 10am.
“As we solicit prayers for the repose of our dear brother Priest and God’s consolation on his immediate family, we wish to humbly call on all and sundry to refrain from taking the laws into their hands.
The Diocese has declared a two-day mourning for peaceful repose of his soul and may his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace – Amen,”