By Tony Edike
ENUGU—THE Vice Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Professor Cyprian Onyeji was Wednesday abducted by heavily armed young men suspected to be kidnappers after ambushing him and his police escort at the main gate of the university in Agbani, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Three policemen attached to him were seriously wounded during a gun battle with the kidnappers, which created panic and sent many students and workers running into the bush to avoid being hit by bullets.
An eyewitness said the incident occurred at 11.30 am when Prof. Onyeji was driving in his official Honda Accord car into the campus with his police escort driving behind him.
On sighting the two vehicles, the kidnappers who had laid ambush near the gate, fired several shots at the escort van and displaced the policemen before jumping out of the bush to get at their target.
One of the policemen who attempted to return fire was seriously wounded by the kidnappers said to be armed with AK 47 rifles, while the patrol van was riddled with bullets. All the four tyres were destroyed by the kidnappers apparently to demobilize the policemen.
Having overpowered the policemen, the gunmen dragged the Vice Chancellor’s driver and his orderly out of the car, jumped in and drove off towards the Ozalla junction. By press time yesterday, Prof. Onyeji’s whereabouts was still unknown as the kidnappers were yet to contact his family or the school authority.
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Ossy Ugwuoti and the spokesman of Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu confirmed the incident to Vanguard yesterday.
Amaraizu said that policemen were already on the trail of the kidnap gang assuring that everything possible would be done to secure the release of the VC.
Meanwhile, the all the house unions in ESUT including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University, SANU and Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU have decided to down tools until the vice chancellor is found.
As a result, both academic and non-academic activities at the permanent campus of the university had been put on hold even as fears have gripped members of the academic community.
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Gunmen kidnap ESUT Vice Chancellor