By Tony Edike
ENUGU—THE Enugu State Police Command said yesterday that it has commenced full scale investigations into the kidnapping of the Vice-Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Professor Cyprian Onyeji, and the Administrative Director of Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu, Dr. Jonah Ndubuisi Abah.
The command said serious manhunt was in progress to fish out the abductors of the two persons but it could not be ascertained if their locations had been identified.
It will be recalled that Professor Onyeji was ambushed and abducted while driving into the permanent campus of ESUT at Agbani last Wednesday while Dr. Abah was abducted by unknown gunmen while driving with members of his family to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Trans-Ekulu for early morning mass at about 5 am last Friday.
Sources close to Prof. Onyeji family had revealed that the kidnappers demanded payment of N200 million ransom before he would be set free but no further contact had been made with the family after the phone call last Thursday.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu told Vanguard yesterday that operatives of the Anti-Kidnap Squad were already handling the two cases with utmost care, stressing that what was important to the command was to ensure the safety of the victims.
He said that the police was not aware of whatever negotiation going on between the families of the victims and the kidnappers, as that had not been brought to the knowledge of the command.
“What we (police) need most now, is the cooperation of their family members and the members of the public. All vital information that will enable us secure the release of the affected persons should be made available without delay,” Amaraizu said, adding that the command had beefed up security within the capital city.
Deputy Vice Chancellor of ESUT, Professor Aloysius Uzoagu, who briefed newsmen on the abduction of the VC at the weekend, confirmed that a N200 million ransom demand had been made to his family and not the university.
He said that ESUT would not be involved in the negotiation for the release of the VC as that would be handled purely by Prof. Onyeji’s family and relatives.
Prof. Uzoagu noted that in the past when some government officials were abducted in a similar manner, the state government was not involved in the negotiation with the kidnappers, saying the university community would therefore continue with its prayers for the safety and release of the VC and leave the negotiation to his family.
Also at the weekend, the Federated Association of Nsukka Students (FANS) condemned in strong terms the abduction of the ESUT VC, which they noted had paralyzed activities at the university, urging the state government, the school management and security agencies to intensify efforts towards ensuring his release without delay.
In a statement signed by Comrades Albert Nwangwu and Ernest Ezugwu, National President and Secretary of FANS respectively, the organization called for the immediate release of the Vice Chancellor in order to restore normal activities at the institution.