Say itâ€™sÂ national tragedy
By Benjamin Njoku
Torrents of reactions have continued to trail last SundayÂ abduction of theÂ renowned movie star, Pete Edochie who equally regained his freedom late Monday, with Nollywood stars describing his abduction and freedom asÂ â€œ very unfortunate and a national tragedyâ€. It cautioned against a future repeat of the incident.
Edochie, last Sunday, was abducted at Nkpor, near Onitsha, Anambra State by team of inglorious criminals. He was released last Monday night at 11 p.m.
Reacting on behalf of the Guild of Nigerian Actors, AGN, actor Kanayo .O. Kanayo (KOK)condemned the abduction of the nonsense actor whoÂ became popular in 1989 when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in a movie adaptation of Chinua Achebeâ€™s novel, â€˜Things Fall Apartâ€.
Peter Edochieâ€™s abduction, according to KOK â€œis a sad development in the history of entertainment in Nigeria.â€ He added that abduction remains a strange act as far as the entertainment industry is concerned in Nigeria.
â€œAn entertainer is like an ambassador or a member of the Red Cross Society who desires not to be hurt in any way. I must say itâ€™s a very wrong step taken by the criminals to have abducted the veteran actor,â€ he said, adding that â€œPeter Edochie is a national brand. To avoid a future repeat of this criminality, we have contacted the AIG, Zone II, to ensure that the culprits are fished out and brought to book.
Again, thatâ€™s what we have been talking about. Until he regained his freedom,Â government did not deem it fit to come up with a statement of rescue. Itâ€™s that bad. Edochieâ€™s abduction is a wrong signal to the rebranding project of the federal government because the news of his abduction was on air.â€
Also, in his reaction, Charles Okafor described Edochie as an iconic personality in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
â€œItâ€™s an evil for any Nigerian youth to think of abducting this great actor who has contributed immensely to the development of the nationâ€™s entertainment industry.
â€œItâ€™s a very sad news for us that our Edochie was abducted and later freed. We have not been happy, and it all means that none of us is safe in this regard. We are completely dislocated in Nollywood. Iâ€™m not in support of any act of criminality.â€
Ejike Asiegbu, actor
â€œWe, at AGN are not happy with this abduction of one of our foremost and highly respected veterans, Chief Pete Edochie. We condemn his kidnapping in its entirety and also call on the kidnappers to immediately release him to his family and us without any harm.â€
Kingsley Ogoro, film maker
â€œItâ€™s very bad…. We are all frightened. Now that a ransom have been paid, it becomes lucrative. We are wondering who will be the next. No one of us is safe again. WithÂ the newspapersâ€™ reports following some Nollywood stars being rewarded handsomely,Â collecting big pay from Glo and producers, we are not safe at all.â€
Other notable Nollywood stars and personalities that have publicly condemned the incident include Segun Arinze, Zack Orji, Anayo Odobeatu, Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze and Benedict Johnson.
Last Tuesday, also, Information and Communications Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili, reportedly condemnedÂ Edochieâ€™s kidnap as she called on security agencies to move in and ensure his abductors were arrested and brought to book.
Describing the act as shocking and barbaric, Prof. Akunyili said the action is a dent on the image of the country and also an assault on the good people of the country.
The minister described the movie star as â€œan excellent actor and patriotic Nigerian and great role model who served selflessly in the committee to reposition Nigeriaâ€™s image and has continued to contribute to the success of the programme.â€
Edochie is a member of the rebranding committee of the federal government.
Only recently, Edochie was appointed chairman of AGN electoral committee (AGNEC) by the KOK led-AGN caretakersâ€™ committee.Â His electoral committee, which has RekiyyaÂ Attah, Vice Chairperson, Val Agwulonu, Secretary, Theodore Anylanji , presiding officer, Andy Chukwu, returning officer, Tina Amuziem, Femi Durojaiye asÂ members is saddled with the duty and responsibility to midwife a credible and transparent election for the guild. WithÂ regaining his freedom, there is every hope that the guildâ€™s election plans will not be aborted.