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Lecturers Resort to Prayers for Kidnapped ESUT VC


News » Politics
Africa

Image:Vice_Chancellor_ESUT

The disquiet in the home of Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, the Vice-Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), who was kidnapped nine days ago at the entrance of the institution, is palpable.

The worry of the family is increasing daily as the VC’s whereabouts remains unknown, although his abductors have established contact with the members.
The family has spent the past nine days in weeping, agony and pains. Both the wife and children have been crestfallen.

Even their residence located in Independence Layout, Enugu, clearly depicts the fact that the breadwinner of the house has been away for a while.

A visit to the milk-coloured duplex yesterday revealed the obvious fact that the unusual has happened in the area. It has become like a solitary yard. Not many visitors come there anymore.

When some reporters tried to explore the possibility of seeing the wife, they could not gain access to the building as the gate remained locked from the inside. One elderly man, who identified himself as the gateman, simply said "nobody is allowed to come in except on appointment."

According to one of the neighbours who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "all of us have remained in pains since the past nine days. Onyeji has never been known to us like a troublesome person. He is a friendly neighbour. Ordinarily, if you are not told who he is, you can hardly know that he is the vice-chancellor.

"We are still wondering what could have made these gunmen to subject him to this kind of enslavement for this long. Our prayer is that they should release him alive."
Also, a relative from his Aku country home in Igboetiti Local Government Area of Enugu State, Chief Sunday Odoh, battled effortlessly to control his tears.

He however said his entire community had united in prayers seeking the release of Onyeji.

"By the grace of God, we are hopeful that he will soon be released from his present captivity. We are calling on all men of goodwill to equally join us in prayers," he added.

But members of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have formally protested the abduction, after the workers had led a fiery prayer session, beseeching God to cause the release of their boss.

Sources told THISDAY that security operatives, especially the police and the State Security Service (SSS), are making frantic efforts to secure the release of Onyeji.

Gunmen kidnapped Onyeji at the university gate in Agbani, Nkanu West Local Government Area while on his way to work Wednesday, last week. Three policemen who were in the convoy of the VC were shot, with two of them critically injured during the abduction. The abductors who had earlier demanded N200 million ransom have further reduced their initial ransom to what was described as “reasonable,” although nobody is willing to disclose the new ransom.

Even then, the vice-chancellor’s family is said to have pointedly told his abductors that the family has no such money and has continued to appeal that he be released unconditionally.

The ASUU of the university has ruled out negotiating the release of the VC with the kidnappers.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aloysius Uzoagulu, had told reporters that the kidnappers were already in touch with the vice-chancellor’s family and had made some ransom demand, but insisted that the university would not be involved.
He said everything about the negotiation had been left between the kidnappers and the family, stressing that the university’s only involvement would be to unite in prayers for Onyeji’s release.

The lecturers seem to have leaned more on the power of divine intervention as they continued to intercede on behalf of Onyeji, imploring God to facilitate his release.

In furtherance of efforts to press for the VC’s release, the union yesterday embarked on a peaceful march to protest the abduction.

Led by their chairman, Dr. Agu Gab Agu, the lecturers who marched on the former temporary site of the university at Independence Layout, Enugu, were dressed in their academic gowns.

The scene was as solemn as it was reassuring of the solidarity of the university teachers.

The protest march was preceded by another prayer session conducted by Prof. John Obasikene, the Dean of Students’ Affairs.

They displayed placards among which read, "Kidnapping is anti-intellectualism", "ESUT is not safe for academic exercise", "Set free our VC to continue his good works", "Please release our VC for everybody's happiness" and "All we are saying, give us protection in our work place."

"As colleagues of Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, we attest that he is a good-natured man who will not wish the abduction of even an enemy,” Agu said.

"We enjoin all well-meaning persons to pray and demand that his abductors bring him back safely to rejoin his family, friends and colleagues, now," he said.

He urged the lecturers not to relent in their prayers for the release of the vice-chancellor whom he described as a "financial member of our great union".
He called on them to get involved in the search for the vice-chancellor and send any information they have about the abductors to the appropriate security agencies.

Article Credit:thisday News 

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Updated 6 Years ago
 

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