The wives of the five engineers declared missing in Effium Community of Ebonyi State, Nigeria’s South-east, said they marked Christmas and the New Year in grief and pain over the fate of their husbands, who went missing about two months ago.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that an Enugu-based engineering firm, Nelan Consultants, had on November 3, 2021, deployed the five engineers on supervision of the ongoing Abakaliki Ring Road project at Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The project is funded by the African Development Bank.
NAN learnt that the engineers were allegedly abducted from the site by unknown armed men, who also took away their project vehicle.
The community where they were abducted has been enmeshed in a protracted communal crisis with its neighbouring Ezza community.
The missing engineers are Nelson Onyemeh, a director and partner to Nelan Consultants, Stanley Nwazulum, Ernest Edeani, Ikechukwu Ejiofor and Samuel Aneke.
Mr Onyemeh’s wife, Patricia, 58, told NAN in Enugu on Friday that she and the wives of the other four engineers, along with their children, spent the Yuletide praying and hoping that their husbands and breadwinners would return alive.
She said this Christmas was the worst in their lives.
“We were indoors grieving and praying that my husband will come back alive.
“Nobody is telling us anything. The children kept asking for their father’s whereabouts since he left the house in November 2021.”
The families of Nwazulum, Ejiofor and Aneke said they were still traumatised by the incident and that all their efforts to find the missing engineers had not yielded any positive result.
They appealed to the Ebonyi State Government, the Nigerian Police and other concerned individuals and groups to assist them in finding their husbands.
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Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State Government had, in its reaction on December 20, 2021, exonerated itself from any involvement in the incident.
The Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji had said at a news conference in Abakaliki that the government had no hand in the disappearance of the engineers.
Mr Orji said, “It has become imperative to put the records straight on the allegations and misrepresentation of facts conveyed to the public from certain quarters over the unfortunate incident that befell Engr. Nelson Onyemeh and (the) other four engineers.
“Based on the report of the police investigation on the incident, we view as disheartening, the unfortunate circumstances that led to the sad news.
“We, therefore, extend our heartfelt condolences to all the families and the Nelan Company for this dastardly act by criminal elements, while hoping for a comprehensive crackdown on the perpetrators,” the commissioner said.
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