The abductors of three Catholic reverend sisters and three aspirants for the convent have demanded a ransom of N20m for their release, NationReformer.com learnt on Saturday.
The reverend sisters, from the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus convent in Iguoriakhi, in the Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State, and three other females, were kidnapped by gunmen on November 14.
The victims were said to have been taken away in a speedboat.
The sisters were identified as Aloysius Ajayi, Frances Udi and Roselyn Isiocha, while the other three females, identified only as Vivian, Mariam and Anna, were aspiring to join the convent before the incident occurred.
It was gathered that the kidnappers stormed the religious community at about 11pm and forcefully took their victims away.
A source told our correspondent on Saturday that the kidnappers earlier demanded N50m but later reduced it to N20m.
The source stated, “They demanded N50m and, subsequently, they reduced it to N20m. As a matter of fact, the EHJ has been praying and I know very well that the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin and security personnel have been trying to see what they can do.
“But it all boils down to the kind of issues we have in this country. If it were to be in saner climes, one would have been able to, at least, pinpoint the location (of the kidnappers).”
Efforts to reach the head of the convent, Sister Agatha Osarekhoe, and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, for comments were unsuccessful.
They also did not respond to text messages sent to their phones on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a Catholic priest, Fr. Kevin Anetor, has launched an online campaign for the release of the victims.
It was also gathred that the archdiocese cancelled its annual religious get-together because of the development.
Anetor, in a Facebook post, decried the continuous captivity of the sisters, who had spent 46 days in the kidnappers’ den.
The priest, in the Facebook post, said, “It’s been many weeks already and our sisters have yet to be returned to us. Please, let’s all do something as we continue to pray for their safe release. Join the social media campaign. Share till something positive happens.”
He told our correspondent on the phone, “Sisters are not millionaires. Where do they expect them to get money to pay ransom? First of all, our prayer is that they are safe and the second thing is that they are released safe and sound.”