The Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) has confirmed that the abductors of its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, are demanding a ransom of N200m.
Addressing newsmen in Enugu on Friday, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aloysius Uzoagulu, said the family of the vice-chancellor informed the school about the demand.
Mr. Uzoagulu said the institution would not be involved in the payment of any ransom, noting that it could only offer its encouragement to the family.
“I want to let us know that the family is into the matter and the university cannot go ahead of the family.
“The wife is there, the children are there, the close relatives are there and they are working hard to see that they do something for the release of their father and we go there to know how far and encourage them.
“So that is the much we can do. If anybody will assist the family, we can use this opportunity to call on the general public to help the family, get to them, console them, comfort them and pray for them.
“The situation is that Prof. Cyprian Onyeji has not gained his freedom yet. We are not into that negotiation as to know whether they have cut down or whatever. If we want to know the details, we get to the family.
“In fact, it is the wife in particular that will tell us or tell anybody how far they have gone with the negotiation.’’
Mr. Uzoagulu debunked media reports that the institution was on strike following Wednesday’s abduction of Prof. Onyeji.
He called on students to return to school, adding that full academic activities would resume on Aug. 22 after the Sallah break.
On why the vice-chancellor was residing outside the school compound, Uzoagulu explained that the V-C’s lodge was being renovated.
The deputy vice-chancellor, who said that the source and reason for the abduction was yet to be known, appealed to churches, fellowships and spirited individuals to assist the institution in praying for the urgent release of his boss.
“Last year, we called on students to renounce cultism and we had more than 160 students that did that and since then, we have not been having any incident about their operation in the school.
“When cult activities happen, ESUT is usually mentioned. I want to say that whatever that is happening in town, we are not aware of that and we cannot hold ESUT students responsible.
“To the best of our knowledge, we are not aware that cult activities have been taking place that will lead to the abduction of our vice-chancellor,’’ he said.
Mr. Uzoagulu disclosed that the two police aides to Onyeji who were injured during the ambush had been discharged from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, while one was still receiving treatment.
The Registrar of the school, Chris Igbokwe, as well as the librarian, George Igwebike, accompanied the deputy vice-chancellor to the briefing.