By Tony Edike &Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€” THE popular actor, Chief Pete Edochie who was, Sunday, kidnapped at Nkpor near Onitsha, Anambra State was released Monday night.
It was not clear as press time if the family paid any ransom, but a member of the family told Vanguard that Pete and his younger brother, Tony, were still believed to be somewhere at Awka.
Though their mission to the Anambra State capital was not immediately known, there were indications that he was in the custody of the state police command.
However, in an interview with Vanguard, moments after the regained his freedom
How do you feel being taken into captive?
I never thought my life was on the line for a split second. It was not a very pleasant experience in the sense that we were under siege, but again like I said I have lived my life in such a way that I donâ€™t imagine for a split second that God would want my life terminated through violence.
I was not shaken one bit. All the young men know who I am and they cannot count me among those exploiting them, or milking this country, so I was not thinking about family or any other thing and that is the truth.
How did your abduction happen?
I was coming from Onitsha â€“Ukwu where we had gone to a church to sell a film on Father Iwene Tansi, which is my primary assignment now and we passed through the old road. I donâ€™t know the geography very well, but I think may be after Nkpor [Onitsha] and suddenly this vehicle came and double-crossed us and it is a vehicle that belongs to Anambra State Integrated Development Services [ANDIS] and then there was another vehicle, they over took us and shot their gun into the air and asked all of us to come out of the car and we came out of the vehicle and we were all headed into the van they came with, and they asked my other colleagues to leave and I guess that was where my ordeal started.
Were you maltreated?
Take a good look at me, I wasnâ€™t, like I said, they re garded me as their father and told me out rightly that I would not be hurt. I was not blind folded, I was not hurt, I was not tied. While we were conversing, they sustained my alcoholic passion by giving me some kind of stout. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I was discussing with them like young men of Igbo origin.
There was this report that they demanded for N10 million?
I donâ€™t know who gave you that report because you were not there with us. Who gave you that report because you were not there with us? Sometimes, you people speculate dangerously and sometimes stupidly, and when you do most of these things you endanger the lives of people who are either in jeopardy.
How could you have known without being there that they demanded N10 million? Nobody demanded N10 million ransoms for my release and nobody paid a kobo and that is final. It is blatant lies by the some sections of the media and it is very unfortunate.
You said you interacted with them. Would you let us into some of the interactions you held?
They told me that politicians in the country were ripping this country off and that their ostentatious display of ill-gotten wealth was annoying them a lot and so they decided that they too were entitled to some portions of that national cake.
That may be their method and may not be endorsed by us. It took my mind back to the Niger Delta and to incessant recurrent disturbances in the north, which for want of better expression we have described as religious disturbances.
Those incidents that keep recurring in the north are not religious disturbances, they manifest themselves as violent civil disobedience but actually, those insurrections are inspired by hapless circumstances.
What presents itself as irredeemable poverty and people who are victims of this poverty are the people who are easy to manipulate; so politicians use them to wreak havoc on the people and because the Christians are given to erecting buildings, establishing industries and whatever, they are the people who suffer a lot as a result of these disturbances. It is not as though they are the prime targets, but when people are condemned to irretrievable poverty, the person becomes desperate and resorts to violence as a result of desperation.
And when these children do these things, capture any of them and ask them why they are doing this? They will tell you that that they were given some money to go and do this; because on their own, they donâ€™t benefit from going to burn houses and churches.
These young men who took me captive a couple of hours, told me that the government doesnâ€™t take their plight into consideration, that the only way people seem to make money in this country is by getting into politics and once you get into politics, you donâ€™t give a damn about any other person; that politicians spend all the money, buy all the cars, go overseas anytime they like; then they on their own decided it is high time they stopped this. They said they are not interested in killing anybody unless you constituteÂ a violent impediment.
So what was your advice to them?
I did not advise them in the circumstance. I did not think I was in the position to advise them. I allowed them to have free reign. We interacted, shared a few jokes and it seems as if they were too happy doing that but from all indications, they donâ€™t have a choice.
How were you able to get here, did they on their own bring you here?
They took me somewhere and left me in the night and I took a cab down here, thatâ€™s all.
Did they collect anything from you personally?
No they did not.Â My phone is there, I decided to put it off, and people have been calling and calling. My bag is there and everything is in the bag.
When I woke up in the morning, I said, go to my bag and get me my chaplet let me pray and they went to my bag and got me the chaplet and my drugs. when I finished, they took it back. They treated me with respect, they showed me benevolence.
They respected my presence a lot, they believed that I am a very influential person in the country and that if I speak the government will listen.