Four corp members still missing in Akwa Ibom as kidnappers release 14

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14 of the 18 abducted members of the National Youth Service Corps scheme who were part the ad hoc staff used for the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State, have been released.

According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr Mike Igini, indicated that 10 of the corps members were kidnapped by suspected thugs in Abak Local Government Area, while four others each from Itu and Ikono LGAs, were also abducted.

It was also gathered that a lecturer from the University of Uyo, Mr Kufre Etuk, who also worked for INEC during the elections, was allegedly beaten at Uruan ward 10. He was said to have run into a forest for safety. Etuk was said to have returned to Uyo on Sunday and was taken to a private medical facility.

Confirming the recent developments, Igini said that 14 of the abducted corps members had been released late Saturday, but was silent about the four abducted corps members in Itu LGA.

He also explained  that two corps members were mistakenly arrested by the police, but were immediately released when it was discovered that they were arrested in error.

He said, “At Abak Local Government Area, 10 abducted corps members were released on Saturday. At Itu, four other corps members were also kidnapped. Two others that were taken to the state police command were also released after my interaction with the Commissioner of Police. The fact before us shows that it was an honest mistake. The two of them were invited and released shortly after our intervention.

“In Uruan ward 10, a lecturer from the University of Uyo was battered and almost killed. His head was smashed and his leg was broken. He slept in the bush and resurfaced on Sunday morning. His name is Kufre Etuk.

“Also at Ukanafun federal collation centre, there was threat made against INEC officials. Security was tightened. There was also reinforcement at the Ikot Ekpene collation centre for the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Odiko MacDon, said he was not aware of any abduction during the elections.

“I am not aware of any abduction. There was no abduction. I just spoke with state NYSC coordinator and there is no report of any corps members missing anywhere. We have not received any report that they were abducted.

“While on patrol on Saturday with the Commissioner of Police and other service chiefs, we saw some corps members who left their duty posts on the claims that one or two persons were trying to invade their polling unit, we took them back to continue with their work. No corps member was abducted,” he said.

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