Another lecturer with the University of Port Harcourt has suffered a terrible misfortune after gunmen whisked him away.
File photo used only for illustrative purpose
Unidentified gunmen on Monday abducted a University of Port Harcourt lecturer, Prof. John Okoli, sending serious tension among workers. Okoli, who is a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering, was kidnapped at gunpoint from his residence in Omuoko, Aluu community in the Ikwerre Local Government Area. It will be recalled that a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, Dr Reginald Ohiri, was kidnapped last week. According to Punch Metro, just six days after the release of Ohiri, some gunmen again attacked the institution and whisked away Okoli who was the Director of Offshore Technology Institute. It was gathered that the development had caused fear among lecturers in UNIPORT, as some of them had reportedly gone into hiding. The spokesman for UNIPORT, Dr William Wodi, confirmed the kidnap. Wodi, who said the situation was escalating, added that the kidnapping was affecting the core responsibilities of lecturers in the institution. The spokesman urged the kidnappers to free Okoli unconditionally, even as he urged the government and security operatives to help the school. “I have just confirmed that Prof. John Okoli, the Director of the Offshore Technology Institute, was kidnapped. He is of the Faculty of Engineering.
“It is becoming turn-by-turn in UNIPORT. The situation is becoming the ‘new normal’ and seriously hampering our core mandate of teaching, research and public service.
“Staff members live in fear and they ask, ‘who is next?’ Experts from abroad, who may wish to collaborate with us, are becoming increasingly hesitant to come to UNIPORT.
“This distasteful trend is affecting scholarship and freedom of movement. Our appeal is that security agencies should urgently come to our aid before it is too late.
“Meanwhile, concerted efforts are on to free Prof. Okoli, who is just a teacher, with no resources to pay a ransom. We appeal to his abductors to free him unconditionally.” As of the time of filing this report, it was learnt that the family of the victim had yet to be contacted by the abductors. When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Rivers State Police Command, Mr. Nnmandi Omoni, said the matter had been reported to the police. He, however, noted that he had not been fully briefed on the incident. Omoni, who is a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said investigations had commenced.