There appears to be an unending kidnap drama in the south-south geo-political region of Nigeria. Just when the kidnapped Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Professor Hope Eghagha was freed by his captors, the Rivers State Commissioner for Power, Mr. Augustine Nwokocha has also been kidnapped.
Though there was paucity of information on how Professor Eghagha regained his freedom 16 days after being held in captivity, his younger brother, Mr. Benjamin Ejiroghene Eghagha confirmed to P.M.NEWS he was freed at about 8 p.m. on Monday.
“I got his Personal Assistant, who confirmed he was released yesterday night in Warri. He will be in Asaba today. His wife, brothers and other family members have reunited with him,” he told P.M.NEWS Tuesday.
He could not speak on whether ransom was paid or not and if the captors of the former lecturer at the University of Lagos dumped him and escaped or some of them were arrested.
However, he thanked the state legislators, government, the media and security agents as well as all people who have shown concern and made efforts to ensure he regained his freedom.
“Our family has been celebrating since yesterday night. I have not seen him to ascertain his state of health, how he regained his freedom, etc. but his wife and brothers have joined him. We thank God and all the people who have shown concern over my brother’s ordeal,” he said.
Professor Eghagha was kidnapped by gunmen in the morning of Sunday, 30 September, 2012 while on his way to Asaba, the state capital in preparation for Nigeria’s 52nd independence anniversary in Delta State. His police orderly was shot dead during the incident.
In a separate incident, the Rivers State government Monday confirmed the kidnap of the Commissioner for Power, Mr. Augustine Nwokocha, on Saturday, by unidentified gunmen.
In a statement by Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, Commissioner for Information, made available to P.M.NEWS, in Port Harcourt, the state government said: “Commissioner for Power, Augustine Nwokocha was seized by unidentified men who are suspected to be hoodlums and career criminals.”
It said further that the information available indicated that he was on an on-the-spot assessment of areas affected by the recent flooding in the state when he was kidnapped. He was said to be on his way to monitor relief materials and the situation in one of the camps when the incident happened.
“Although the details are sketchy, the government wishes to confirm that the security agencies are on top of the situation and have the full cooperation and backing of the government to ensure that the official is rescued and the perpetrators brought to book,” the statement said.
Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has directed the security agencies to ensure the safe return of Nwokocha without delay.” It was learnt that security agencies are now working on a number of leads and a combined search mission is in full swing to get the kidnappers.
The state government has advised members of the public who may have useful information to pass same on to the police or any of the security agencies.
P.M.NEWS observes that in the statement the government issued nothing was said about two other workers of Federal College of Education, Omoku and an aide of the Commissioner who were also abducted on Saturday.