By Steve Oko
Some prominent Abians including former Speaker ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; a renowned economist and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Alex Otti; and a former senator who represented Abia North in the third Republic, Senator Emma Nwaka, have demanded immediate release of the abducted students of the Abia State University Uturu, ABSU, and their co-passengers.
The victims were on Wednesday night, kidnapped by armed hoodlums along Uturu-Okigwe and taken into the bush.
The trio in separate statements strongly condemned the act and urged security agents to ensure safe return of the victims.
Otti who described the incident as “wicked, barbaric and reprehensible”, reminded the perpetrators of the dastardly act that “nothing justifies any form of violence against innocent members of the society, much more students on legitimate academic pursuit.”
In a release by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, the ex bank Chief called on relevant authorities and security agencies to swiftly swing into action and ensure timely rescue of the students without harm.
The former Governorship candidate promised to offer the necessary support and assistance that could fasten the release of the students.
He also called on governments at all levels to treat the present security challenges bedevilling the country as a pressing emergency and consider coming up with far reaching measures and strategies aimed at finding a permanent solution to the present challenges.
Otti appealed to government to engage the youths in a sincere and comprehensive dialogue that could help reduce the present tension and security challenges.
Senator Ohuabunwa, in a release, described the incident as a danger signal to the security situation of the country.
He urged the security agencies to double efforts in intelligence gathering and proactive measures to prevent similar occurrences particularly abduction of students.
The former Speaker ECOWAS Parliament who challenged the federal government to be more committed in the fight against banditary, commended the efforts of the State Government in ensuring that the abducted students regain their freedom.
Senator Ohuabunwa warned that the country might slide into anarchy if the ugly situation were allowed to fester.
Similarly, Senator Nwaka commended the collaborative efforts of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his colleagues in the neighbouring States to track down “these purveyors of extreme wickedness in order to rescue their hapless victims”.
The former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, further called on the security agencies to “deploy aerial facilities as a matter of utmost urgency to augment the ground rescue efforts just as they did in Orlu, Imo State in search of members of the Eastern Security Network ( ESN)”.
According to him, “the call on the security agencies was against the backdrop of the information making the rounds that these bandits use walkie talkies nowadays as opposed to mobile phones thereby rendering ineffectual the existing tracking devices”.
Nwaka went ahead to urge the Federal Government to empower the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to upgrade the country’s tracking ability “so as to put us ahead of the evil devices of these enemies of progress.”