BY STANLEY AHUKANNA in Umuahia•
Savouring his freedom from kidnappers, Chairman of Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Donatus Nwankpa has narrated the circumstances surrounding his abduction, saying that he “unfortunately ran into them (hoodlums)” on his way to the commercial city of Aba on Monday night.
Nwankpa who was freed by his abductors four days after he was snatched while travelling from Umuahia to Aba on the eve of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally in Abia State, told journalists at his home in Umuahia on Friday that he was released at about 9.00p.m on Thursday at the border between Abia and Rivers states.
He said that he was not hurt though his ordeal was very scary as he was kept in a deep forest in Rivers State and exposed to the elements.
Nwankpa, whose home was besieged by sympathisers, said his vehicle was stopped about 30 metres from a police check point, adding that, “the police were watching and did not intervene” while he and those travelling with him were being accosted by the hoodlums.
“I pleaded with them to release one of my aides with injury and they took me to a deep forest in Rivers State,” he said, adding that it took his abductors 48 hours to open up communication and accept “to positively engage my people.” He did not disclose what transpired between his people and the kidnappers before he was released.
Nwankpa, however stated that the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) had discovered the location where he was kept but they were discouraged from taking any action that could jeopardise his life.
“When you’re kidnapped you’re between life and death. I told them (security agents) that nobody should attack after the DSS located the place (where he was kept),” he said, noting that death could come from the kidnappers or during shootout with security agents.
He denied the story making the rounds that on the day he was kidnapped he had gone to the bank and withdrew N50 million and was therefore trailed by the hoodlums while ferrying the huge sum of money to Aba.
The party chairman said that what happened to him was “a problem of insecurity” and should not be politicised as he had only N250,000 in his vehicle at the time he was abducted hence the issue of carrying huge amount of money was political blackmail.
The state vice-chairman of the party, Hon Chris Aja said he was grateful to God for making it possible for Nwankpa to return home unhurt, adding that the news of his abduction had hit them hard during the preparations for the presidential campaign.