From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Bermuda triangle story is being re-enacted in Abia State, where a man in his late 60s went to work in a fortified company and went missing inside the premises without trace for more than three weeks.
Mr. Chinedu Nwagwu, a native of Umugo in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, is a security man with Rockson Engineering Company, the firm that built the Umuobasiukwu-Umugo (Alaoji) Power Plant. According to his daughter, Miss Onyinyechi Princess Nwagwu, her father went to work on February 24, but has not returned since then.
Onyinyechi said: “On Wednesday, February 24, my father, Mr. Chinedu Nwagwu, who works with Rockson Engineering Company/AMCON as a security man, went to the office on morning duty. He was supposed to resume work at 6am, he went and signed in at 5.47am. By 7.28am, he discussed with a colleague of his that they would be going to buy food for breakfast by 8am.
“At the agreed time, his colleague came so that they could go together, only to notice that my father was nowhere to be found.”
The perplexed daughter further said: “We didn’t know what happened until by 6pm when that colleague of his came to our house to enquire if my father was back. But when we said no, he then narrated to us what happened. He told us that they went to work and my father, who was with him inside the expansive company premises, went missing without a trace.”
The daughter, who disclosed that, before the information came, they had already prepared the meal her father would take on his return from work, as they had always done, said they rushed to the company and met the chief security officer (CSO), Emmanuel Amasor, who asked them to come back the following day, since it was getting dark.
“The following day, as early as 6am, we were already at the company, but Amasor told us to come at 10am. I don’t know his reason. At 10am, we went back, and he allowed a few people inside the company. We searched and could not find my father. But we found his bicycle, boots, cap and food flask,” she said.
Onyinyechi picked holes in the CSO’s not allowing them conduct a search the evening they came or early the following morning.
“If somebody had done something untoward to my father, by the time we were allowed into the premises of the company, the person would have cleared up the mess,” she argued.
Since the incident, over three weeks ago, the company has not done anything, not even visiting the family of their missing staff, and nothing concrete has been done to find him, Onyinyechi lamented.
Was the security man swallowed by a python? From details of events, it was not likely. Take this from Onyinyechi: “We reported the matter to the police at Ugwunagbo Police Station and they arrested the CSO and the colleague of my father who was on the same morning duty with him. They came and searched the company and, after a few days, released the two men without recourse to the family and, up till moment, we’ve not heard from the police and the two men are moving about freely and the company has not done anything over my missing father.”
Going by the search conducted by police with the villagers, if Nwagwu was swallowed by python, the trace could have been seen.
Or was Nwagwu kidnapped? This could not be contemplated, since it is on record he did not leave the premises of the company when he came for duty. Again, the high fence would make it very difficult to kidnap the security man. What then happened to the man whose bicycle, boots, cap and food flask were still where he kept them when he arrived for duty? It is only those on duty with him, including a mobile policeman, that can unravel the puzzle.
Onyinyechi, who spoke the mind of her mother, Mrs. Chinasa Nwagwu, and her three siblings, is insisting that “the management of the company should provide our father, dead or alive; if he is dead, we will bury him.”
The Umugo community is not allowing the matter to lie low. Piqued by the plight of one of his subjects and the nonchalant attitude of the company, the traditional ruler of the community, Eze Chidi Onyeije, on March 2, wrote Kingsley Unuigbe, Rockson’s site manager, and copied Michael Ashon Imoroa, the chief operating officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Umuobasiukwu Power Plant, inviting them for a meeting on the development. When the invitation of the traditional ruler was not heeded, on March 9, he wrote another one, this time to the acting chief operation officer, Alaoji Generation Company Limited, saying: “I have written to Rockson Company (in receivership) and copied NDPHC to come to my palace for us to meet and find lasting solution to this challenge; all efforts proved abortive considering the fact that Rockson Company are not serious to tell us the whereabouts of my subject.”
The monarch gave the company 10 days to provide information on Nwagwu’s whereabouts. The ultimatum elapsed on March 7, yet there had been no headway.
Daughters of Umugo at home and in the Diaspora, under the auspices of Umuada Ugolagu, have also waded into the matter. Mrs. Onyinyechi Linda Aguwa Onyekwelu, whom they sent to find out what happened to their son, told Daily Sun she had carried out some investigations and even met with the CSO of Rockson Company, but was not satisfied with the way the company was handling the matter.
“I have carried out some investigations and even went to the company located within Umugo and spoke with the CSO, Emmanuel Amasor. I was not satisfied with the way the company was handling the issue of unravelling the mystery behind the loss of our father. It is incredible that someone would go missing in such a fortified company without a trace.
“I’m going to report to the generality of the Umuada that sent me on an errand and the next action they will take over the matter will be a general decision. But if not for the persuasion of our traditional ruler, the whole women of Umugo would have gone to the company to lay siege until their husband and father is found.
“However, that option is not yet ruled out. It’s not going to be easy. We will not just fold our arms and allow one of our uncles to get missing like that, and they think that will be the end of the matter.”
When Daily Sun visited the power plant company in Umugo, the CSO, Amasor, who admitted that Mr. Nwagwu actually came to work that fateful day and did not leave the premises before he was declared missing, said he had contacted the company’s head office in Abuja and he was awaiting their response three weeks after the incident.
Amasor said: “Actually, Mr. Nwagwu reported for duty on February 24 and signed in. When later I was informed about him (being) missing, we conducted a search and when we could not see him, I reported the matter to the police. They detained me for days before taking me to the company to search the premises themselves.
“I have also made formal report to the headquarters of the company in Abuja and we are expecting them to do something.”
When contacted, the police public relations officer in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna, said: “Yes, he (Nwagwu) was reported missing at the station.”