By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
The three medical personnel, including the former Edo State Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Phillip Ugbodaga, who were kidnapped recently in Imo State, have regained their freedom.
The other two kidnap victims were Mrs. Anne Usman, a Matron in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City and Mr. Sunny Omo-Alasa, a health worker.
Narrating their ordeal to newsmen in Owerri, Mrs. Usman said: “When we got to Orlu that night, we did not know the right way to Uburu Ekwe. So, we hired a commercial motorcyclist to direct us. Just a few minutes after we started the journey, a sports utility vehicle overtook our car and blocked us”.
Continuing, the badly shaken lady recounted that a young man that was armed with an AK 47 rifle, clad in the Civil Defence uniform, jumped out of their vehicle and ordered the medical personnel to get out of the vehicle.
“Three of us were ordered into the hoodlums’ SUV. They quickly reversed and sped off to their den, through a very lonely road. All the efforts by residents of the community to flag the vehicle down that night, were rebuffed”, the woman recalled with grief.
She also recalled that as the hoodlums were driving to their den, they were intermittently making calls to their colleagues, urging them to be on the alert as they were “coming with consignments”.
“When we go there, they took our bags and led us into the bush. They ordered us to sit on the bare ground, under one big tree. They chained our legs. From October 16 until we were rescued, we were blindfolded. They were giving us Gala and water”, Usman said.
Speaking also, Professor Nwauwa appealed to the Federal Government to provide the police with sophisticated and modern tracking devices.
“This will easily assist the police in tracking and flushing out kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminals, even if they are in the bush”, Nwauwa said.
He lamented that the drugs and other disposables meant for the free medical exercise, were all stolen by the hoodlums.
Earlier in his speech, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, confirmed that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, personally commanded the special anti-kidnap squad that rescued members of the medical team.
“While Dr. Ugbodaga and Omo-Alasa were set free Friday, Mrs. Usman was set free in the early hours of Saturday”, Mr. Enwerem said.
According to the PPRO, the Toyota Camry car belonging to the medical team, was recovered the next da by the police and remained in police custody, while efforts were intensified to rescue the victims.
Vanguard recalls that the three kidnap victims were among the 18-man medical team that were on their way from Lagos, to undertake a free medical mission at Isu local council area of the state, organized by a United States of America-based professor of medicine, Dr. Appolos Nwauwa.