Vice Chancellor of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Prof Cyprian Onyeji
By Christopher Isiguzo
Hours after he breathed the air of freedom after being in the kidnappers’ den for nine days, the Vice Chancellor of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Prof Cyprian Onyeji refused to give details as to how he regained his freedom.
All efforts by reporters to get across to the vice chancellor were rebuffed as sources insisted that “for security reasons, he would not talk to the press as it is considered unnecessary speaking further on what transpired between him and the kidnappers in one hand and between the family and the kidnappers as it concerns whether or not ransom was paid”.
Onyeji was freed at about 11pm Thursday and was found around Igbariam in Oyi Local government Area of Anambra state.
However, sketchy information obtained by THISDAY revealed that Prof Onyeji was blind-folded from the point where he was kept within the period of his “incarceration”.
“From information available to me, we learnt that the Prof was moved from place to place during the nine days he was in captivity. They made sure, security operatives did not pin them down to a particular spot. But, one sure thing is that he was not maltreated and he looked hale and hearty when he was found at the place they dumped him.
“For sure, money exchanged hands but I can’t say how much. But for security reasons, that part of the story is better left untold,” the source, who was one of the first set of people to see the Vice Chancellor told THISDAY.
When contacted to give further details concerning the kidnap, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebere Amarizu declined comment, insisting that he was yet to be fully briefed on the Vice Chancellor’s release.
“Sketchy details available have it that the Vice Chancellor was seen around Igbariam axis of Anambra State on 23rd August 2012 at about 2230hrs hale and hearty and has reunited with his family,” was all he would venture in a text message.
On further enquiry, Amarizu said the most important thing is that the kidnapped ESUT Vice Chancellor has been freed and “he is well and alive”.
Also on his part, the Public Relations Officer of the ESUT, Ossy Ugwuoti declined to comment on what transpired between the VC’s family and the kidnappers that led to his release, saying “we are happy that our boss has reunited with us and that’s all we can say for now”.
It could be recalled that Prof Onyeji was last week Wednesday abducted by unknown gunmen at the gate of the university while on his way to work.
In the process of the kidnap, three policemen were seriously wounded. While two were discharged two days after from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) were they were treated, the remaining police officer was said to be still receiving treatment at the hospital.