Unknown gunmen Thursday night kidnapped seven Abia State University Uturu, students close to the school.
Sources, as corroborated by the university Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Onyemachi Ogbulu, and the Abia Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the incident happened between 7.30 pm and 8 pm at the Abia end of Okigwe – Uturu road, close to the university army checkpoint.
The exact point was said to be Ihube Okigwe/Uturu junction popularly called “Boundary” which harbours numerous security checkpoints and less than one kilometer from ABSU military checkpoint.
Confirming the incident, the PPRO said “The truth is that the incident happened in Okigwe and Okigwe is in Imo State and the victims are students of Abia State University. Abia State and Imo State commands are on the matter. The students are from Abia and from what I heard, they are about seven in number”.
Also reacting, the ABSU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Onyemachi Ogbulu, confirmed the incident, lamenting that the school is tired of such incidents.
“The thing is that in spite of the presence of all the security agents, the army, the police, the Mobile Police, there is more than six security checkpoints between Okigwe and ABSU, yet, every now and then, this happens and nobody has been arrested.
“This one just happened on Thursday night between 7 and 8 pm in spite of the warnings we gave to the students to stop going about in the night”, he said.
He stated that since Friday, he has been in touch with all the security agencies in the state and the state government with the response, “we are working. I am in contact with the Commander of 143 Battalion. We are attacking them is the response and yet, ransom will be paid.
He regretted “we are not sincere in this country”, adding that there is the SIM card registration and tracking in the country, yet “ransom will be paid, someone will come there, pick up the ransom, go back and will not be caught”. This happens all over the country, not just in the east.
“There is no day we don’t here of one problem or the other. This is a country that cannot protect the lives and property of its citizens, which is the primary function of any government”, he said.
According to him, the abductors have contacted him, starting with 10 million on each of the students with the parents as of Friday and by Saturday, have reduced it to N2 million.
“We have communicated with the Commissioner of Police, Battalion Commander, the AIG, DSS and others. This is not our function. Constitutionally, security is in the Exclusive List.
“This thing is not even the function of the local government or state government, it is the function of the Commander-In-Chief of this country and Armed Forces, otherwise, allow Nigerians to carry guns and allow the states governments to protect the lives and property of their citizens.
“Let the governors be the real Chief Security Officer of their states “in words and in deed”.
“Let there be state police and local government police. This country has failed, whether they like it or not”, he said.
Meanwhile, the university has issued a statement on that incident, describing it as “ugly and dastard and highly regrettable”.
He assured the parents/guardians of the abducted students that “all security apparatus within and outside the state through the intervention of the governor of Abia state and Visitor to the university, Okezie Ikpeazu is on course to ensure the quick release of the students from their abductors”.
Meanwhile, a traveller who narrowly escaped the incident alleged that one of the abducted students who escaped from the abductors was said to have approached security officers in one of the popular checkpoints close to the school to report and that no action was taken, adding that the community has concluded planned to protest that the checkpoint is of no use.
One of the identified abducted students, sources said is a 300-level anatomy female student of the school.