Abducted Anambra varsity student regains freedom

12th April 2024

Francisca Chioma

The abducted student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Miss Francisca Chioma, has regained her freedom five days after her disappearance.

The Chief Security Officer of the institution, Ken Chukwurah, confirmed her release to our correspondent over the telephone on Thursday, adding that she was set free after the payment of an undisclosed amount of money to her captors on Wednesday.

Chioma, a student of the Science Education Department in UNIZIK, was reportedly abducted on Friday by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.

She was said to be on her way to attend a friend’s father’s burial ceremony around the Omasi community in the Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state.

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The kidnappers were said to have eventually made contact with her family, informing them that she was held hostage in their captivity, while also initially demanding N10m as ransom for her release. The ransom was later renegotiated down to N2m.

Following her abduction, Chioma’s friends and schoolmates reportedly embarked on a contribution to pay the ransom requested by her abductors.

Chukwurah, who confirmed the release, said Chioma was abducted along with her friend at the Omasiunu area of the state.

He said, “Yes, she has been released. The debriefing we got from her was that she and her friend were not their targets; they were just unfortunate to be in the area when the kidnapping operation was taking place, and they fell into their hands.

“The kidnappers were targeting to abduct one academic doctor and a member of the same family they were going to pay a condolence visit to. They heard that the man was coming in a public transport, and they laid an ambush.

“She confirmed that the kidnappers later abducted the academic doctor, who was their target, and from their interactions, the assailants came from outside the state. She said the kidnappers made them trek long distances in the bush and crossed them to Nsukka in Enugu State.

“When the incident was happening, we were in communication with security agencies because we initially thought it was not true, but the security agencies sent us coordinates where they tracked them to somewhere in Enugu State.

“From the interactions with her, she said the family members and friends raised some amount of money, and eventually, the money was paid to the kidnappers, but we do not have the actual amount that was paid. They said the man who was their target was eventually asked to pay N20m, but negotiations were still ongoing between the man and the kidnappers before they were eventually released.”

When contacted, the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, Tochukwu Ikenga, stated that the command is aware of the “unverified reports,” adding that witnesses or the victim’s relatives should come to the police station to assist with the inquiry.

He said, “Yes, the command is aware of the unconfirmed information regarding the abduction of the UNIZIK student, and we want to use this medium to invite the victim’s family, friends, or witnesses to come forward with information that can help us embark on investigations, please.”


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