The wives of five engineers declared missing in Effium Community of Ebonyi State, Nigeria’s South-East, have lamented that they spent their festive period in sorrow and anguish.
The women said this as the fate of their husbands, who went missing about two months ago, remained a sorrowful burden in their hearts.
Recall that an Enugu-based engineering firm, Nelan Consultants, had on November 3, 2021, deployed the five engineers on supervision of the ongoing Abakaliki Ring Road project at Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The project is funded by the African Development Bank.
It was learnt that the engineers were allegedly abducted from the site by unknown gunmen, who also carted away their project vehicle.
The community where they were kidnapped has been enmeshed in a protracted communal crisis with its neighbouring Ezza community.
The missing engineers are Nelson Onyemeh, a director and partner to Nelan Consultants, Stanley Nwazulum, Ernest Edeani, Ikechukwu Ejiofor and Samuel Aneke.
The 58-year-old Onyemeh’s wife, Patricia, told journalists in Enugu on Friday that she and the wives of the other four engineers, along with their children, spent the Yuletide praying and hoping that their husbands and breadwinners would return alive.
She said the last Christmas was the worst in their lives.
“We were indoors grieving and praying that my husband will come back alive. Nobody is telling us anything. The children kept asking for their father’s whereabouts since he left the house in November 2021.”
The families of Nwazulum, Ejiofor and Aneke said they were still traumatised by the incident and that all their efforts to find the missing engineers had not yielded any positive result.
They appealed to the Ebonyi State Government, the Nigerian police and other concerned individuals and groups to assist them in finding their husbands.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State Government had, in its reaction on December 20, 2021, exonerated itself from any involvement in the incident.
The Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, had said at a news conference in Abakaliki that the government had nothing to do in the disappearance of the engineers.
Orji had said, “It has become imperative to put the records straight on the allegations and misrepresentation of facts conveyed to the public from certain quarters over the unfortunate incident that befell Engr. Nelson Onyemeh and (the) other four engineers.
“Based on the report of the police investigation on the incident, we view as disheartening, the unfortunate circumstances that led to the sad news. We, therefore, extend our heartfelt condolences to all the families and the Nelan Company for this dastardly act by criminal elements, while hoping for a comprehensive crackdown on the perpetrators,” the commissioner said.