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Mixed reactions have continued to trail the alleged kidnap of a former Coordinator of Anuagata Development Centre in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Amos Ogbonna, by unknown gunmen. The former council boss was reportedly trailed by gun men, on Thursday, as he returned from a Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meeting of the Federal Government College, Okposi, in Ohaozara LGA of the State, and whisked away in a car.
The development generated tension in the state on Friday as various groups accused each other of masterminding the abduction.
The subsequent release of the victim by his captors, however, did not stop the series of accusations and counter-accusations.
His party, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and various groups and individuals have issued statements on the incident.
Ogbonna, who is allegedly one of the key leaders of the G64 that appeared on an African Independent Television (AIT) programme, last week, before his abduction and the PDP, in a statement, accused the State Government and the Commissioner of Police (CP) of complicity in the matter.
“If Amos is not released, then we all know that the need for self defence has become eminent and the Commissioner of Police is incapable of protecting lives and properties of Ebonyi people. Only his removal can restore confidence in the police as he has become a politician,” stated the PDP.
But in a quick reaction, the State Commissioner for Information, Orji Uchenna Orji, described the purported kidnap saga as a “grand design” by the PDP publicity secretary’s “syndicate of political howlers to cause tension in the state and incite public hatred on a government they hold in a very high esteem.”
He said, “We have it on good authority that millions of naira have been voted to these conscienceless fellows to hatch and execute unprintable atrocities and keep social media and other media platforms busy with unthinkable fabrications against the state government, with a view to attacking the hard-earned reputation of our dear governor and the testimonials of his great accomplishments.
“We, therefore, dissociate and distance ourselves from the thoughts and claims of these PDP officials, who for pecuniary and political reasons have covenanted with the opposition forces to unleash falsehood on the state Government.”
Orji further accused one Linus Okorie, the former member who represented Ohaozara/Onicha/ Ivo Federal Constituency at the House House of Representatives (2011-2019), of getting involved in the move to run down the image of the Governor for pecuniary purposes.
Reacting, Okorie denied the allegation of his involvement and challenged the Ebonyi APC and its publicity secretary “to go public with evidence substantiating its various allegations”against him and state chapter of the PDP.
He said, “I challenge the Ebonyi APC and its Publicity Secretary to go public with evidence substantiating its various allegations against me and the Ebonyi state chapter of the PDP in this heinous crime. As the ruling party in the state, it beggars reason that it has so much evidence of the motive and details of a kidnap yet has done nothing to rescue the victim so he can narrate his story to the police to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of the culprits.
“Without preempting the eventual outcome of ongoing investigations by the police and other security agencies, I am convinced that whoever authored or authorized that jaundiced press release of the APC knows the abductors and whereabouts of Amos Ogbonnaya, and should be held to account.
“Finally, I hereby make myself available to the police and other security agencies at any time in the course of their investigation of this heinous crime. At the same time, let me sound a clear note of intention to pursue my right to protect my name and hard-earned integrity against the purveyors of this criminal allegation, should it finally be proven that it is false and unfounded.”
In response to Okorie, the APC publicity secretary, Ogbuatu Chidi Simbad, accused the PDP of masterminding the alleged kidnap of Amos. He said, some members of the party, led by Okorie, were unhappy with the victim’s recent reconciliation meeting with some state government officials and decided to abduct him.
“The general public should also be put on notice that it is the PDP that kidnapped their own man and tortured him, and turned round to accuse the Ebonyi State Government, to conceal their crime by shifting culpability, but they have failed.”
Police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, said the police wasn’t aware of the matter and called on the family of the victim to make useful information available to the police concerning the abduction.
She said, “The police is always been accused and we are not worried about that; the most important thing is for the family of the victim to do needful by providing useful information to the police, for possible rescuing of the victim and apprehension of the perpetrators.”
However, the victim it was learnt, was later released, on Friday. Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Onu, confirmed his release saying: “Information reaching the People’s Democratic Party, Ebonyi State Chapter, is that those who abducted Barr. Amos Ogbonnaya have released him, however, in a bruised and battered condition.
“We thank God that he is alive and pray that the torture he went through will not lead to his death. This is important as the abductors are not exonerated from criminal prosecution simply because they have been pressured to release him.”