8 kidnapped Christians have been freed

Nigerian military secure an area where a man was killed by suspected militants near Maiduguri, Nigeria, February 16, 2019.(Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) who were kidnapped in Nigeria last month have been freed.

The group were taken at gunpoint on 26 March while travelling on a bus to Kaduna, north-west Nigeria, to take part in the RCCG's Easter 'Let's Go Fishing' programme. 

It is not clear who abducted the men but the northern regions of Nigeria have been plagued with attacks and kidnappings for ransom by extremists. 

Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported at the time that the abductors wanted a ransom from the church.

International Christian Concern, which reported on the group's release, said it was not known whether a ransom had been paid or not. 

Kaduna State Governor El Rufai recently said that ransoms were being used to fund terrorist group Boko Haram, which was behind the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014. After seven years, 111 of the girls remain missing

Kaduna State recently took a firm stand against paying out ransoms.

"The position of the Kaduna State Government remains the same: the Government will not negotiate with or pay ransoms to bandits," the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan said.

"Any person who claims to do so in any capacity, if found, will be prosecuted accordingly," it warned.

Nonetheless, Christians are thanking God for group's release. 

"Today I got the exciting news that our brethren who were in captivity of kidnappers have all been released and taken to the hospital for check-up and tests," RCCG General Overseer Pastor Enoch Adeboye said on Twitter.

"Glory be to Jesus. We pray for lasting peace in all troubled regions of the country in Jesus name."

International Christian Concern is asking Christians to pray for Nigeria and all kidnapping victims who remain in captivity. 

"Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped," it said.

"Pray for their captors, that their hearts would be softened, and that they will experience the love of Christ that leads to true repentance and salvation.

"Pray for the Lord to comfort grieving parents and families and for the Nigerian government to be wise in dealing with terrorists."