11 April 2012, Sweetcrude, OWERRI — The peaceful community of Ndionyeagorom Village, Awa in Oguta local council area of Imo State has been thrown into fear and confusion following the kidnap of their son, Ottih John Ottih.
Ottih, an engineer and a retired senior staff of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), is currently a presidential aide on petroleum matters.
He was attending Sunday Mass in his church, Saint Michael’s Catholic Church, Awa, when the hoodlums struck.
The hoodlums, who were suspected to be among the congregation came in a metallic red coloured Jeep and were four in number.
Ottih, according to eyewitness account, was later trailed to Umuofor autonomous community where they waylaid him and fired several shots at his car.
“His younger brother, Ndubuisi, was hit in his right hand, while the soft-spoken engineer was immediately blindfolded and taken away in the kidnappers’ Jeep”, a villager said.
It was also gathered that the incident occurred at about 2.30pm.
All the villagers, who spoke in low tones when our reporter visited the community, affirmed that Ottih was in the fore-front in underwriting expenses of his local church and actually made some donation at the Sunday mass before he was kidnapped.
“The man is very simple, unassuming and loving. He redeemed his earlier pledge to the church that Sunday and was preparing to host members of his community to an Easter dinner before the criminals struck,” a villager recounted with grief.
At the time of going to press, no member of Ottih family had been reached by the hoodlums and whereabouts and safety of the victim remained a mystery.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Samuel Oodee, for his comment on the kidnap proved abortive as he neither picked or returned telephone calls.