Who abducted and killed five engineers contracted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to inspect project in Ebonyi State? This is one question that has repeatedly been thrown at the Ebonyi State Government with no answer.
An Enugu-based engineering firm, Nelan Consultants, had on November 3, 2021, deployed the five engineers on a supervision of the ongoing Abakaliki Ring Road project at Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
The project is funded by AfDB.
The engineers were allegedly abducted from the site by unknown armed men, who also took away their project vehicle.
That was the last their families, friends, colleagues and relatives heard from them in the community, which has been enmeshed in a protracted communal crisis with its neighbouring Ezza Community.
The missing engineers include: Messrs Nelson Onyemeh, a Director and partner to Nelan Consultants; Stanley Nwazulum; Ernest Edeani; Ikechukwu Ejiofor and Samuel Aneke.
However, the Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. David Umahi had in December 2021 announced publicly to the shock of the families of the engineers that they had been killed by their abductors.
Without reaching out to the families of the engineers, Umahi announced that the suspects arrested over the abducted engineers confessed that they had been killed and buried.
The families had lamented that Umahi had neither produced the killers, nor shown evidence of the victims’ burial, describing the announcement by the governor as curious and suspicious.
The governor was accused of allegedly instigating another company to replace the consultants.
But the Ebonyi State government had in its reaction on December 20, 2021 exonerated itself from any involvement in the incident.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Uchenna Orji, had said at a news conference in Abakiliki that the government had no hand in the disappearance of the engineers.
Who then abducted and killed the engineers? Where were they buried? Why did the state government hurriedly replace the consultants?