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Christian doctor abducted in Nigeria is released, receiving care for wound

A leading Christian doctor abducted from his Nigerian home and shot in the arm by kidnappers who held him for ransom has been released, according to the Searcy, Ark.-based International Health Care Foundation.
Dr. Robert Whittaker is back at the Nigerian Christian Hospital and receiving care for his wound, the foundation said Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 4, on its Web site.
No other details were immediately released.
Whittaker was at his home on the compound of Nigerian Christian Hospital with his wife, Annette, and son, Ozioma, when a vehicle of armed men pulled up to the compound Sunday, Aug. 2.
The kidnappers shot one of the compound’s security guards and entered the home. Whittaker was shot once in the arm during the attack, said Jerry Canfield, chairman of the board of the International Health Care Foundation.
The kidnappers took Whittaker and left his wife and son. Annette Whittaker received minor injuries in the attack and the security guard was expected to recover from his injuries, Canfield told The Christian Chronicle.
Canfield asked for prayers for the Whittakers and the staff of Nigerian Christian Hospital, which is negotiating for Robert Whittaker’s release.
The hospital, launched in 1965 by missionary physicians including Dr. Henry Farrar, is located near the border of Nigeria’s Abia state, near the southern Nigerian city of Aba.
Tom Carr, executive director of International Health Care Foundation, led a team of American medical missionaries on a campaign to Nigeria recently and was in transit back to the U.S. when he learned of Whittaker’s kidnapping. Two American nurses working at Nigerian Christian Hospital also are returning to the U.S., Canfield said.
Robert Whittaker studied medicine in Cardiff, Wales, and was baptized during a gospel meeting by British minister Albert Winstanley.  
Whittaker went to Nigeria in 1975 after reading an article by Dr. Henry Farrar in the church publication Firm Foundation, encouraging physicians to spend vacation time at Nigerian Christian Hospital. The West End Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., sent Farrar to serve as the first located doctor at the hospital in 1964 and continues to support his work.
Sylvester Imogoh, a minister in the Nigerian city of Igarra, asked Christians around the world to pray for “the safe release of this innocent servant of Christ, who has risked so much to serve God in Nigeria.”
“Brother Whittaker is by far one of the humblest and (most) selfless Christians that I am yet to meet,” Imogoh said. “He is not the one who should suffer this kind of fate.”
The Chronicle will post updates as they become available.

  • Feedback
    Hi Bob Lawrence
    Hope you are doing very well under God’s grace and favor. I am curious: Did you visit Tanzania recently and met Mr Jacob Mwandiko at his home in Tanga? They have a potential site for a Christian hospital in kigombe near Pangani. I am his Son inlaw and I am a forestry working with the Extension Services. Lets keep in touch.
    Be blessed.
    Josh Idassi
    joshua Idassi
    First Lutheran Church
    Greensboro, NC
    October, 27 2009

    We are so grateful that Dr. Whittaker has been released. Dr. Henry Farrar’s daughter is a member of our mission organization (Pioneer Bible Translators) and we have been praying for Dr. Whittaker’s release. We continue to pray for all that is needed for complete recovery and return to his beloved work.
    Gerald and Ruth Denny
    Broadway Christian Church
    Lexington, Kentucky
    August, 15 2009

    I thank everyone for your outpouring of love and concern for my family. Please pray for Dr. Brian Camazine and all of the doctors, hospital staff, school staff and others left behind. Also pray for the kidnappers.
    A brief update: Bob has two long plates in his left arm with about 27 screws holding the bone fragments of his left humerous together. Next week he will have a skin graft and in a month a bone graft. The nerve graft is yet undecided. Pray he will recover enough to do surgeries. I had a piece of bullet not tile removed from my leg and am healing. America has not had any amputations but rather tendon repair and traction. Ozi is in school here hoping to return to Nigeria. He is a blessing, pray for him. Thank you all. Annette
    Annette Whittaker
    West End Church of Christ
    Nashville, Tn
    August, 13 2009

    I was at the Hospital Compound in November 2009. I was there to visit NIATS. I met the Whittakers and was very impressed with their dedication & love for the Nigerian people. I felt their pain when Bob was kidnapped. I pray for Bob’s physical healing and the entire family’s spiritual and emotional healing.
    Jerry Hogg
    Sunset Church of Christ
    Knoxville, TN
    August, 11 2009

    Dr. Whittaker is the long-term doctor for the Nigerian Christian Hospital that Rees and I, and many others, were praying for in 1975. He has served God there so faithfully for more than thirty years. We are thankful for the way he has glorified God in Nigeria and we are praying for his full recovery. Thank you, Christian Chronicle, for keeping us informed.
    Patti Bryant
    First Christian Church
    Kissimmee, Florida 34743
    August, 9 2009

    My thoughts and prayers are with Bob and his family at this time.
    I worked at NCH form 1984- 1986.
    Bob was such a source of encouragement to me as I prepared to go to Nigeria.
    Thanking God for his safe return
    In Christ Gem
    Olive Gem Gayle nee Spence
    West Ewell, Surrey
    August, 8 2009

    We are shocked and saddened by these brutal criminals and pray that they will be brought to justice. My husband, Gene, and I had the privilege to visit NCH when our daughter, Kay, and her husband Brent Magner were working at the hospital. My brother, Henry,and Dr. Whitaker are two of the most dedicated missionaries in Christ’s Kingdom.Lucretia and Gene
    Lucretia Farrar Patterson
    Westover Hills church of Christ
    Austin, Texas
    August, 7 2009

    I Thank and Praise God for Bob’s release and Annette is ok! I pray for God’s Sovereign hand that Bob will be fully restored and the flashbacks of the crime will be erased quickly and the peace of God will reign. For Ozi, for the loss your beloved dog. Know that God has him in heaven smiling down on you. Prayers for the Security Guard that he will be blessed for the sacrifice he took to watch over the Whittakers. For all the people at the hospital that Peace will come quickly, make you even stronger to carry on the work there and for your safety. For the doctors who are treating Bob will be blessed for their efforts. Thank you to all who have been involved taking care of Bob, Annette and Ozi and those helping them in their recovery.
    Dottie Murray (Annette’s Sister)
    Non Denominational Christian
    Lexington, SC
    August, 7 2009

    So glad Dr. Whittaker has been released and is back at home. I will be praying for the whole family – have known them from the 1980’s til now. May God bless him, and thanks to The Lord Jesus he is back.
    Dottie Beckloff
    Woodmont Hills Church of Christ
    Nashville, Tennessee
    August, 6 2009

    Praise God for Bob’s safe return. We now pray for the family’s safe and swift travel back for surgery and recovery from this horrific ordeal. Thank you for all prayers, positive thoughts,and encouragement.
    Margi Larrabee (Annette’s Sister)
    St. Mary’s Church
    Palmdale, CA
    August, 6 2009

    My family and I were shocked to hear about this horrible experience of kidnapping Dr. Whittaker and the maiming of the hospital guard. We pray God Almighty to grant him healing of soul and body. May his will be done in their lives.
    We also pray for the gaurd that the good Lord will grant him healing.
    Lawrence Adu
    Gainsville , Florida
    August, 5 2009

    If Bob has his way, the asaulters will repent and be baptised and be singing praises to God beside him in church. Bob is responsible for saving so many lives (and souls)in that area and Annette with the mosquito net program as well. God will use this to draw us all nearer, we share in their suffering and in their triumph.
    I had the honor of working with them in 1987 and again in 1996.
    jenneine lambert
    Naples Church of Christ
    Naples, FL
    August, 5 2009

    The Whittakers plan to come to Nashville Tenn–need for advanced orthopedics as soon as Dr. Camazine think it is safe for Bob to travel. Annette, Ozioma are thankful and calm, Bob is resigned to lose arm if God wills.Pray also for America (the guards name!) who lost arm and leg to gunshot wounds in the kidnapping battle.
    Henry Farrar MD
    College Hills church of Christ
    Lebanon , TN 37087
    August, 5 2009

    I have visited in the home of Annete and Dr. Whittaker many times while Ron Pottberg and myself were on mission trips to Nigeria. My heartfelt prayer is with all there and we pray for the quick recovery of Dr. Whittaker. We also pray for those who took him captive that somehow their hearts can be reached with the gospel. That is the only thing that will stop much of this happening over and over.
    Ruth Orr
    Church St. Church of Christ
    Lewisburg,, Tennessee
    August, 5 2009

    “The kidnappers shot one of the compound’s security guards and entered the home. Whittaker was shot once in the arm during the attack,”
    This is a disgrace to Nigeria and Africa, we had series of attacks on Preachers and Prominent people in the South Africa too. We thank God for the live of Dr. Whittaker. God be with us all.
    Philip Larbi Adjei
    Central Johannesburg Church of Christ
    Johannesburg, Gauteng
    South Africa
    August, 5 2009

    Praise God for Dr. Whittaker’s safe release! As others can attest to, his amazing example of honest, thoughtful, courageous and committed missionary work has had a tremendous impact on my life and work. Thank you Lord for Bob, Annette and Ozioma.
    Paul Giboney
    Hollywood Church of Christ
    Hollywood, CA
    August, 5 2009

    Brothers ansd Sisters in Christ:
    Just a brief thought–more later.
    A puicture of Mars Hill would be more appropriate than a picture of a pagan temple, which God HATES!
    Jonathan Ainsworth
    1st Baptist, New Orleans
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    August, 4 2009

    Praise God for Bob’s swift release. You and your family are in our prayers.
    David & Ruth Winstanley
    Newport, Wales
    CARDIFF, Wales
    United Kingdom
    August, 4 2009

    If further details on the ransom are obtained, please do not report them. This would be the recommendation of every missionary, medical doctor, hospital, etc. in Nigeria. Thank you. Details regarding his recovery from the wound, etc. would be welcomed. By the way, Dr. Camazine who stayed at the hospital after swiftly sending his nurses home is Harvard trained. He is evaluating Bob’s wound.
    Henry Huffard
    Nashville, TN
    August, 4 2009

    We are grateful to God for releasing Bob. We pray for his family, the hospital employees, the patients, and those that participated in this crime.
    Bob Valerius
    Petite Anse Church of Christ
    Cap Haitien, Nord
    August, 4 2009

    The immediate answer of effectual prayers is an awesome demonstration of God’s power. He still cares more than we sometimes remember. Praise God for His protection.
    Dan Cooper
    Pitman Church of Christ
    Sewell, NJ
    August, 4 2009

    Thank you all for your prayers and comments. From what I have just heard, Bob has been returned! Thank the Lord.
    Bill (Annette’s brother}
    William Lumbleau
    North Carolina, Catholic
    Troy, NC
    August, 4 2009

    Please be aware that an American surgeon, Dr. Brian Camazine, was visiting on a medical mission when this occured. He voluntarily stayed behind rather than leave the injured guard and other patients without a doctor. Brian has a wife and two children.
    Please pray for his safe return.
    Ben Bradshaw
    South Main Church of Christ
    Henderson, TX
    August, 4 2009

    As missionaries in Northeast Thailand, we recognize the risks and potential dangers in world evangelism. We pray for the safety and success of all true soldiers in the Lord!
    In the past, I was privileged to visit and teach at the compound of Nigerian Christian Hospital near Aba. Our prayers are with brother and Dr. Robert Whittaker and his family. We have known with respect of the great works of bro. Whittaker and Dr. Henry Farrar in the African continent since the sixties.
    — Daniel and Kathy Hamm
    Missionaries in Thailand
    Daniel and Kathy Hamm
    Overseen by Nance Church of Christ in Alamo, Tn.
    Ubon Ratchathani, Ubon Ratchathani
    August, 4 2009

    Editor – please change my post to IHCF African Christian Hospitals instead of Cloverdale. Thanks.
    Fleta Mooney
    IHCF African Christian Hospital
    searcy, AR
    August, 4 2009

    We would like to sincerely thank everyone for the many calls and emails we have received that shows your immeasurable love and concern for the Whittakers. We ask that you continue in prayer for the situation.
    Fleta Mooney
    Cloverdale. Searcy
    Searcy, AR
    August, 4 2009

    I would add that Father is in control and this has not taken Him by surprise. May His peace envelope all during this trial and suffering. May His Kingdom rule and reign be established and known in this situation on earth, as it is in heaven.
    Warren Murray
    North Trenholm
    Columbia, South Carolina
    August, 4 2009

    While we can and should pray for Dr Whittaker’s safety and release, we do greatly err in our thinking if we feel it is unjust that he was chosen to endure these things. Jesus brutally rejected Peter’s suggestion that He should not suffer (“Get behind me, Satan”). Paul recognized his beatings, trials and imprisonments as an opportunity to imitate Christ, bring God glory and strengthen his brethren to endure persecutions also. As a body we need to brace ourselves to endure persecutions because we are promised they will come. There is no merit in following Christ if we stop short of suffering for His Name. If we reconfirm to walk worthy of our calling in the Lord Jesus, Dr.Whittaker’s trials will not be in vain. GOD BLESS US EVERYONE!
    Grace Wheeler
    Concord Street congregation
    Orlando, FL
    August, 4 2009

    I visited with Dr. & Mrs. Whittaker last December when I taught at the school on the hospital compound and participated in graduation services.
    Our prayers are for Dr. Whittaker’s safety and quick return to his family and the wonderful work he does for the Nigerian people. God bless all who are negotiating for his release. Jerry Hogg
    Jerry V. Hogg
    Sponsor: Sunset Int’l Bible Institute, Lubbock, TX
    Knoxville, TN
    August, 4 2009

    covering these sweet people in prayer. They are doing great work in Nigeria. Pray God covers them , and delivers Dr. Whitaker safely. Praying Psalms 34..that the angels of the Lord will encamp around them and deliver Him…
    amy Stroup
    FBC brentwood
    Nashville, TN
    United States
    August, 4 2009

    I am a missionary with SIM. My wife and I were stationed in Aba for several years. We knew Dr. Whittaker. We appreciated his service to us on a couple of occasions – between 1983 and 1990. We are praying for him. Please keep us informed. Thanks, Bill Robfogel
    William Robfogel
    SIM Missionary
    Charlotte, NC
    United States
    August, 3 2009

    This is a tragedy on so many levels. First and foremost, for Bob, Annette and Ozioma. Our hearts and prayers are with them. It is also a tragic situation for the Nigerian Christian Hospital and all those people who have dedicated their lives to that beloved institution. Pray for the hospital specifically.
    J David Netterville
    Otter Creek Church
    Brentwood, TN
    August, 3 2009

    Dr. Brian Camazine, a surgeon from Texas, was visiting there and elected to stay while others left to care for a wounded NCH guard. Mention him as ask for prayer for his safety
    Al Jones
    Lakewood, Denver
    Laramie, Wy
    August, 3 2009

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