A Nigerian professor at a Christian university has been released by kidnappers who were suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Professor of computational mathematics and numerical analysis, John Fatokun is also the deputy vice chancellor of Anchor University in Lagos. He was captured on Monday while travelling to Nasarawa from Jos state. Fatokun was freed two days after, Morning Star News reported.
"Despite the experience, my faith remains unshakable. We will continue to work, pray and raise godly men and women who are destined to change the narratives and make Nigeria a better place for the generations ahead," the Christian university professor told Legit, a local news outlet.
The professor failed to identify his captors but it is believed that Muslim Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the kidnapping since the group has been operating such activities in the state of Nasarawa.
The announcement of his release was made through Anchor University's Facebook page on Wednesday.
"To the glory of God, the deputy vice-chancellor, Anchor University, Professor J.O. Fatokun, has been released," the Facebook post said.
According to Okesola Sanusi, head of strategy and communications and also the school's assistant registrar, Fatokun was released after being prayed for.
The report further stated that Fatokun was abducted while travelling from Jos, Plateau state to Keffi town in Nasarawa state in the north-central Nigeria. He was held at about nine o'clock in the evening in Kurmi Shinkafa village of Nasarawa state, Kokona County. He was then on his way to a high school in Keffi to drop off one of his children and was planning to return to his post in the university in Lagos.
Fatokun's kidnappers demanded 20 million Naira or US$52,177 as ransom for his release from Deeper Life Bible Church, according to Anchor University's spokesman, Sanusi.
Anchor University is owned by Deeper Life Christian Ministry church and being overseen by Rev. Dr. William Kumuyi.
Reports of abductions and attacks against the Christians have been rampant in Nigeria. In a Morning Star News report in November 2020, a pastor along with two Christian women were captured by the militants from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group. The pastor was reportedly released more than a week after his church held nightly prayer vigils.
The report further said that a family of three were kidnapped on Oct. 24 also by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nasarawa state. A six-year old Isaiah Okunu is still currently held in captivity after his father was killed by their abductors while his mother was released five days later. The kidnappers were initially asking for 10 million Naira (US$26,212) but the ransom was then lowered to 3 million Naira (US$7,865). The Christian family are members of Evangelical Church Winning All.
Christian Headlines added that last year (November 2019-October 2020), Nigeria held the most numbers of kidnapping Christians with 990 total cases, according to Open Door. Nigeria ranks 9th as a country in the world where it is the hardest to be a Christian, according to the World Watch List 2021.
The news also stated that Nigeria is a country with most Christians being killed for their faith with 3,530 cases which is up from 1,350 cases in 2019, the World Watch List report recorded.
"In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list," the report concluded.