By Chidi-Nkwopara & Benjamin Njoku
Nollywood burst into wide jubilation last Thursday night after Nkiru Sylvanus and Kenneth Okolie were freed by their abductors in Owerri.
The Government House also was not left out in the celebration. The actress who doubles as Special Assistant to the Imo State Governor on Public Affairs was abducted alongside former Mr Nigeria, Kenneth Okoli last Sunday in Owerri, while filming a special public relations project for the state.
HVP investigations revealed that the actors were released at about 10.30pm Thursday night and this may not be unconnected with the “communication government entered into with the kidnappers soon after their kidnap”.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Chinedu Offor, who confirmed the initial contact between government and the kidnappers, equally affirmed the development to HVP yesterday morning.
“This is to confirm that Nkiru Sylvanus, Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Affairs, kidnapped several days ago, has been released”, Mr. Offor said.
While confirming that some arrests were made in connection with the kidnap of the soft spoken Nollywood actress, the Commissioner equally affirmed that investigation is still continuing to unravel the brains behind the sordid act.
“The Imo State Government assures all Imolites of its commitment to the safety of lives and property at all times, especially during this Christmas and New Year festivities”, the Commissioner said.
He stoutly resisted the temptation of being drawn to disclose more facts on the issue, stressing that “further inquiries on this case should be forwarded to the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO”.
However, when contacted on his mobile line, the PPRO, Mr. Vitalis Onugu, a deputy superintendent of police, asked to be given about one hour before he can speak authoritatively on the issue.
Reacting to their release, the National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN), Ibinabo Fiberesima said she is excited and relieved. “I’m excited, Ï thank God for their release. In fact, since their abduction, I have put my Christmas celebration on hold, pending when they will be freed,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Southeast Zone, has called on the five South Eastern governors to stand up to the challenges of fighting insecurity in the region, which according to them, affects the safety of their members.
However, with the recent abduction of Nkiru and Okoli, the fear of return of kidnapping of Nollywood stars in the south-east has become inevitable. Only few years ago, veteran actor, Pete Edochie and Nkem Owoh were kidnapped and subsequently released after ransoms were paid. Also, John Okafor a.k.a Mr Ibu had his wife kidnapped in the same manner.