DIRECTOR of the Offshore Technology Institute, Faculty of Engineering, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Professor John Okoli, was kidnapped Monday evening.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of UNIPORT, Dr Williams Wodi, said the kidnap of lecturers from the institution was becoming almost a normal way of life.
He said the lecturer was taken away by his abductors from his residence in Omuoko Aluu, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, but he could not confirm if the kidnappers had asked for any ransom.
“It is becoming turn-by-turn in UNIPORT. This developing situation is becoming the ‘new normal’ and seriously hampering our core mandate of teaching, research and public service.
“Staff live in fear of who is next, while 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 becomes too late,” he said.
UNIPORT’s imagemaker also disclosed that efforts were ongoing to ensure the freedom of Professor Okoli, “who is just a teacher, with no resource to pay ransom. We appeal to his abductors to free him unconditionally.”
Efforts to get the police to confirm the incident were not successful, as the state police imagemaker, Nnamdi Omoni, neither picked his call nor replied the text message sent to his mobile.