By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has called for a full-scale investigation to unravel the cause of abduction and killing of five consultant Engineers working on the African Development Bank (AfDB) by some unknown gunmen.
The five engineers were working with an Enugu-based consultant engineering firm, were reportedly missing on November 3 after they were deployed to a road project at Effium in Ebonyi state in continuation of routine supervisory works.
The victims were identified as Mr. Nelson Onyemeh, Mr. Stanley Nwazulum, Mr. Ernest Edeani, Mr. IK Ejiofor and Mr. Samuel Aneke, respectively.
Expressing it worry, through a statement Monday in Abuja, AESID President Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, called on security agencies in Nigeria to thoroughly investigate and unravel those who have hands in the unfortunate incident.
The statement said: “We join the family and indeed, other civil society groups like Intersociety which have all spoken up on this dastardly act to not only condemn the sad incident but call on Governor Umahi to clear his name on the matter especially as he has been specifically mentioned to have been threatening the contractors.
“It is our principal belief that matters such as this, so long as it concerns our dear state and it’s people cannot be swept under the carpet through unofficial but surreptitious Executive antics. This is more so when a character like Umahi is involved.
“We therefore implore the varous security agencies in Nigeria to thoroughly investigate Umahi and those in his government who may have been suspected to have a hand in this unfortunate incident.”
While raising concern over the mysterious and suspicious deaths associated with the road project, the diaspora group “the mysterious deaths pervading this important road project, especially coming few months after yet-another suspicious death of Engineer Fidelis Nweze a Commissioner, who was before his death, was the Chairman of the Ebonyi State Project Implementation Unit for the AfDB- financed Ring Road Project.
“Already, these sad ugly incidents have put the Umahi government in a very bad spot, and to an extent, affected the overall public perception of our people as aggressive, savagery, beastial and anti-developmental progress.”
The statement also demanded that “governor Umahi and his government was yet to launch some deeply serious probe into the mysterious disappearance and killing of the said contractors. This is very important because media reports, including a detailed report on a popular Nigerian Television news Channel, ARISE all points accusing fingers to the threats from Governor Umahi on the lead consultant, Onyemeh.
“Specifically, those close to the murdered Civil Engineer who spoke to the Television’s Reporter, insisted that the relationship between Governor Umahi and NELAN had remained very frosty to a point that some of the vehicles assigned to them for the execution of the project were allegedly withdrawn, leaving them with only one Toyota Hilux for their routine operations.
“Shat despite the ongoing war between Effium Indigenes of Korri extraction and the Ezzas, there had never been reports of hostility and violence by the host community towards the construction and consultancy firms handling the said Ring Road project. It is therefore bewildering for Umahi to bring the crises narrative into the incident when the facts speaks, or suggests otherwise.
“And why has it been difficult for the various investigative security agencies in over six weeks to unravel the killers and at least exhume the bodies for full-scale autopsy? Or does the state not place premium on such investigations that can unravel the truth and expose the mystery?”