Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
Abia women from Umuopara clan in Umuahia South Local Government, Tuesday poured out in their hundreds to protest the continued captivity of their illustrious son, Prof. Uwadinachi Iweha, who was abducted by gunmen over two months ago.
Iweha, who is the Provost, College of Medicine, Gregory University Uturu, was abducted in front of his house on Sunday June 5, 2022.
A ransom of millions of naira was said to have been paid to the abductors as demanded but the whereabouts of the medical doctor remains unknown and his abductors have completely switched off further contacts after collecting the ransom.
Several protests, including the withdrawal of services for three days by medical doctors as directed by the Abia State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), as well as efforts by security agencies have all failed to compel the abductors to release the doctor from their custody.
The latest protest spearheaded by women of Ahia Asa autonomous community was prompted after the lingering wait for the Professor of medicine’s return and the apparent lull in efforts by the police to locate and free him from his captors.
Chanting songs that express anger, the women marched to the palace of their traditional ruler, Eze Godfrey Ibekanma, the Ezeukwu I of Ezeleke, Umuopara, to express their frustration, anger and bitterness over the continued stay of their illustrious son in the hands of hoodlums.
They also marched to the home of the missing Professor and then to the market square where they cried out in tearful prayers calling for divine intervention.
The spokesperson of the protesting women, Victory Sally Asomugha, who represented the woman leader of Ahia Asa, Mrs. Sally Ukauwa, said they are sad, bitter that their son was abducted and for this long no word has been heard from him till date.
“Our son left his house to worship God. They called him from the church, he went back home and till date we have not seen him. We want him back, he is our son in whom we are proud.
“We are also calling on government and security agencies to expedite action for his release,” the woman leader added.
Addressing the women at his palace, the traditional ruler of Ezeleke Autonomous community, Umuopara, Eze Godfrey Ibekanma, said that the 14 autonomous communities of Umuopara were united in their protest and demand for the release of Iweha.
He described the kidnapping of Iweha right in front of his house as not only devastating but a big blow to the entire component communities of Umuopara clan.
“So long as we have not seen him, we will continue to look for him and we have faith that we will find him. One is not supposed to be lost in the house of God,” he said, adding: “We are also appealing to the state government and security agencies to do more to ensure his release.”
The wife of the kidnapped doctor, Mrs. Ngozi Iweha, recounted that the kidnap took place in front of their house at Ezeleke Autonomous community, Umuopara on her husband’s return from church.
“We are traumatized, this two months is like a hell for all of us. We are pleading with those holding him to release him alive for us and we are also begging the government and security agencies to ensure his release from his abductors,” she said.
In a press statement he personally signed, the first son of the family, Mr. Chukwudi Iweha, recalled that immediately after the abduction of their father, the kidnappers contacted the family the next day and a ransom was paid, yet the hoodlums have continued to keep him.
“As a family, we are not able to discern the motive behind this act or to even point any accusing fingers at anybody. We have our trust in God that he will return and be reunited with us in good health.
“We appeal to the media to create further awareness of our painful and traumatizing situation, with the hope that anyone with information will come forward and it will lead to the rescue or release of our father,” he said.