The Dean of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Archbishop of the Province of Niger Delta, Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey yesterday said the police had no hand in his rescue from the kidnappers who abducted him at about 10p.m. on September 6 at Aleto Eleme on his way back to Port Harcourt from his home town, Alode-Eleme.
Kattey was released last Saturday after nine days in the hands of his captors.
The cleric, while recounting his ordeal in a press conference in his home at Alode-Eleme, said he never set eyes on the police all through his days in captivity, and said the police lied when they said they rescued him.
“The police did not rescue me; they did not rescue my wife. They may have attempted but they did not rescue me or my wife. That the police rescued me is not true; I walked to this place. I did not see the police throughout my ordeal. I saw the police for the first time two days ago.
“I told the police that the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) was telling lies. How can she be telling lies? I told the police commissioner that his PRO was telling lies. If the police will not tell the truth, who do you expect to tell the truth?” he asked.
He said his freedom was an act of God because the kidnappers sometimes argued over his continued stay with them in the bush until they finally made up their minds to free him.
“The way I was released: on Thursday evening, one of the persons who had watched over me told one man that was with him that they should release me. He said this man had stayed long. The other man got furious and threatened to shoot him for asking that I be released. ‘What has this man given to you that you want to release him?’ he asked his partner. That night they moved me to another place and we stayed from morning till night. Then one man came and said, ‘this man will go now o!’ I thought they wanted to shoot me. I didn’t say anything. One of them was engaged in a phone call and said they should hold on.
“After a while, they asked me to follow them and make sure I don’t talk to anybody. We kept moving until they stopped a commercial motorcycle (okada) and asked me to climb on it. They actually gave me N200 to pay for the fare… I don’t know what actually happened but I believe that God touched their heart.”
Kattey said in his nine days in captivity, he neither slept under a roof nor had a bath.
“I was not tortured but I was under difficult conditions. I slept outside in the rain and sun with my cassock. I didn’t have my bath all these days. I was in the forest and was moved from place to place. Feeding was once a day; maybe by 10a.m. or 11 p.m. Sometimes, I was given sachet water, sometimes fast food, sometimes boli. I was left in the rain and had to lie down in the pool of water there because I cannot stand all through the night. I wore the same cassock, rain or shine,” he said.
Responding to questions on whether his abductors gave him any message to the government, Kattey said: “They did not give me any message to deliver to anybody. But in the bush, I asked them why they were doing this to me? They said the government and society forced them into what they were doing because most of them were graduates but had nothing else to do.
“I understand that the police have arrested some persons but they are not part of the persons I saw in the bush. The police are holding the wrong persons and should release them. I told the commissioner of police. The real people are in the bush.”
Kattey also said: “May we appeal to the federal and state governments to as a matter of urgency review the security situation in our dear country Nigeria. May we also urge the leaders, especially the political class to be sensitive to the plight of the governed by providing the basic responsibilities of government to her citizens. If this is done, we believe governments would have been able to put in place strict measures that will not allow crime breed unchecked and unreprimanded in our nation.”
While thanking the church, Christians and Muslims for their prayers and encouragement to his family in his days of captivity, Kattey said he had forgiven his abductors.