The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, has regained his freedom, four days after he was reportedly abducted by gunmen at Arungwa Junction (near Aba) on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
Mr Nwankpa was said to have been kidnapped while on his way to Aba from Umuahia around 11 p.m. on Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s visit of President Muhammadu Buhari for his presidential rally.
He told journalists in his residence in Umuahia on Friday, that he was released at about 9 p.m. on Thursday and taken to the border between Abia and Rivers states.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his assailants, Mr Nwankpa said that the hoodlums accosted his car about 30 metres away from a police checkpoint at the Arungwa Junction.
“Ironically, the police were watching and did not intervene, while we were attacked by the hoodlums,” he said.
He said that after they were kidnapped, he pleaded with the gunmen to release one of his aides, who had a major operation recently and was still recuperating.
He said that they heeded his plea and dropped off the man but drove him away to a deep forest in Rivers.
Mr Nwankpa said that it took the kidnappers about 48 hours before they could open up communication and agree to negotiate with his people.
He said that although the Department of State Service (DSS) was able to locate their location in the forest, he admonished them not to take any action.
“When you are kidnapped, you are between life and death. So I told the DSS that nobody should attack after they located the place I was kept,” he said.
He said that his fear was that death could come from the kidnappers or during a gun battle between the hoodlums and security agents.
The APC chairman dismissed as “unfounded” the rumour that he was trailed by his abductors after he had withdrawn N50 million from the bank, describing it as “political blackmail.”
He said that he had only N250,000 when he was attacked and blamed the incident on the state of insecurity in the state.
He expressed joy that he was not hurt by his abductors but could not disclose whether a ransom was paid before he was le off the hook.
Meanwhile, scores of APC party chieftains in the state thronged Nwankpa’s residence house on Friday, rejoicing over his safe return.