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UNICAL lecturer kidnapped by gunmen regains freedom

UNICAL lecturer kidnapped by gunmen regains freedomA lecturer in the Department of Zoology, University of Calabar, Prof. Edet Ekpenyong, who was kidnapped by unknown gunmen on March 10, has been released by his abductors.

Ekpenyong, who was reportedly kidnapped during his morning routine exercise in UNICAL and whisked away by his abductors through the Big Qua River, was said to have been released on Wednesday.

The lecturer, it was learnt on Friday, sustained serious bullet wounds on his knee and is currently undergoing medical treatment.

A family source disclosed that a ransom of N850, 000 was paid to secure his release.

The kidnappers had initially demanded N2bn, but later reduced the ransom to N200m, N100m and N50m at different times before finally releasing Ekpenyong after keeping him for almost two weeks.

The source said, “He is currently in a critical condition. He was shot in the knee and the bullets are stocked in there. A ransom of N850, 000 was paid before he was released. He stayed with them for almost two weeks. We pray he comes out of this,” the source said.

A top university source confirmed that an undisclosed ransom was paid, adding that the don was currently responding to treatment.

Meanwhile, the Cross River State Police Command has paraded 15 suspects in connection with various crimes across the state.

Three of the paraded suspects were cement dealers who specialised in repackaging expired cement and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, who paraded the suspects alongside a truck loaded with the expired cement, gave the names of the cement dealers simply as Darlington, aged 34, Nsa (30) and John (29).

According to Inuwa, the suspects were arrested on March 20, 2017, following a tip-off from concerned residents in the state.

He said that the expired cement was loaded in two ships that came in through the Calabar estuaries and repackaged, ready to be sold to members of the public.

Inuwa said, “On March 20, 2017, following a tip-off, we received information that two ships arrived Calabar River with expired cement to be sold to members of the public.

“The cement was packaged in Dangote and UniCem bags as well as other suspected items. The trucks with registration number-XK 180 NSH and XE 743 NKR have been recovered and brought to the command.

“The suspects have all confessed to the crime and will be charged to court soon,” he said.

Similarly, the commissioner said that the other 12 suspects were arrested at different locations in the state for indulging in various offences.

He further said that on March 20, the command arrested seven suspects who were robbing residents of their belongings at Mekenge Street, off Marian Road in Calabar metropolis.

“Also on March 20, 2017, through a distress call, we arrested four suspected criminals who were snatching cars at Marina Resort.

“And on March 21, 2017, we also arrested one suspect in Boki local government area who is a gang leader of a group that is terrorising other innocent members of the community.

“In all, we recovered three locally made pistols, two berretta pistols, 9mm live ammunitions, one Murano jeep, one Toyota Rav4 and one Toyota Corolla car, among others.

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