It was jubilation galore at the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) on Friday as the community celebrated the release of its vice chancellor kidnapped nine days earlier.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Cyprian Onyeji who was abducted by unknown gunmen last Wednesday, regained his freedom Thursday night.
The VC returned to the warm embrace of his traumatized family nine days after he was held hostage in an unknown hideout.
Unconfirmed reports said the kidnappers had demanded N200 million ransom from his family and when they were not forthcoming, the amount was reduced to N50 million.
At the Enugu and Agbani campuses of the institution workers and students discussed the development in groups as they thanked God for the release.
Those who volunteered to speak thanked God for the release, saying it had brought down the fear and tension that pervaded the institution.
Mr Chimaobi Ifebude, a final year student of accountancy, said that since the incident happened, social and economic activities in the institution had been paralysed.
Ifebudu expressed the hope that with the late Thursday night release of Onyeji, normal activities would resume in the institution.
Miss Chinyere Okoro, another student, expressed happiness with the development, saying “I pray that anything like this will not happen again’’.
Dr Sunny Udeze, a lecturer at the mass communication department, also expressed happiness with the release and applauded the staff for being steadfast during the kidnap.
The Public Relations Officer of ESUT, Mr. Ossy Ugwoti, who confirmed the release of Professor Onyeji in the early hours of yesterday, however, said that he was not aware if any ransom was paid before his release.
He, however, could not give details of how the VC was released but he declared that “our oga was released hale and hearty at about 11 pm Thursday night and has already been reunited with members of his family.”
Members of academic staff of ESUT who had suspended all academic activities since the VC was abducted, had on Thursday staged a peaceful protest in Enugu demanding his immediate release.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Government on Friday expressed happiness over the release of Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, the Vice-Chancellor of its university, after nine days in the hands of his abductors.
Reacting to the release, Mr Chukwudi Achife, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Sullivan Chime, said that it was gladdening in government circles that the professor had been released.
Achife said the government was thankful to God for the release and prayed that such never happened again in the state.
He said the government had appealed to security agencies in the state to step up their surveillance to prevent such incidents. Onyeji was abducted by gunmen on Aug. 15 at the gate of the Agbani campus of the Enugu State University of Technology. His abductors freed him on Thursday around 11 p.m. at Igbariam in Anambra.