Police drag suspected kidnappers to court, victim still missing after 1 year
The victim, a professor, was abducted in Abia State one year ago and has been missing ever since.
The family spoke at a news briefing in its Umuajameze Umuopara home in Umuahia South Local Government Area on Monday, to mark the anniversary of the unfortunate incident.
It said that the arraignment of the suspects made no sense without any clues as to the whereabouts of the septuagenarian.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the victim, a Professor of Medicine and Provost, Gregory University’s Medical College, Amachara, near Umuahia, was reportedly kidnapped in front of his house by yet-to-be identified hoodlums on June 5, 2022.
It was learnt that the assailants ambushed him as he returned home from church to prepare for a function, where he was billed to represent the university chancellor, Prof. Greg Ibe.
He was reportedly pursued into a nearby bush, while trying to escape after he alighted from his car, and taken into captivity to date.
Giving an update on the incident, the victim's first son, Chukwudi, said that the police arrested five suspects in connection with the kidnap.
He said that the arrest was made possible, following the recovery of his father's cellphone in Port Harcourt.
According to him, three of the suspects were later released for reasons best known to the police, while two were arraigned in a magistrate's court in Umuahia.
Chukwudi said the family was apprehensive that the police commenced prosecution after its investigations allegedly stalemated without informing them or obtaining any clues from the suspects regarding the whereabouts of their father.
"We got the information that the suspects would be arraigned on May 5 but the police did not consult us.
"However, the arraignment could not hold because of the strike by the judiciary workers in the state," he said.
He, however, said that the family received the help of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 9, through his brother-in-law; hence it could achieve some mileage in the matter.
"But we were alarmed that the police released three suspects and arraigned only two without consulting us and no clues were obtained concerning where the kidnappers kept our father."
Chukwudi, who was flanked at the briefing by other members of the family, alleged that the two persons were "key suspects but not the main suspects".
According to him, the security agencies have been working with us with some results.
"But 52 weeks have passed and they have still not been able to produce the real culprits behind the kidnap or return our father to us," he said.
He further said that the family had remained traumatised by the incident and could not discern the motive behind the evil act or point accusing fingers at anybody.
"We have our trust in God that he would return and be reunited with us in good health," Chukwudi said.
He regretted that their father, who returned home to serve the state and his community, could be so rewarded through vicious attack by hoodlums.
He, therefore, appealed to the assailants and their sponsors to release him, describing the rumours peddled in the area that he had returned as baseless.
He also appealed to Gov. Alex Otti and the National and State Assembly-elects from the area to help the family to spur security agencies to pursue their investigations to a logical conclusion.
The family thanked individuals and groups, including the Traditional Ruler of the community, Eze Godfrey Ibeakanma, the Umuopara women, Nigeria Medical Association, Abia chapter, the Methodist Church Nigeria and other religious leaders, amongst others, for their prayers and support.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the family had hinted that more than N5 million ransom was earlier paid to the assailants, yet they reneged on their promise to release the victim after collecting the money.
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