By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu
The Awba-Ofemili League of Professionals (ALeP) has expressed happiness over the good news of the release of one of their own, a lawyer and journalist, Barrister Mathew Onwuasoanya, who has been in custody of security operatives since May 30 this year.
Family sources confirmed to ALeP that Onwuasoanya regained his freedom after some 40 days following his disappearance from his residence in Awka, Anambra State, south east, Nigeria.
Reacting to the development, the national coordinator of ALeP, Remmy Nweke, appreciated God for His mercies in the life of Mathew Onwuasoanya, all the while he was missing.
ALeP also commended profusely all those who came out to play one role or another to ensure Onwuasoanya was released unhurt, especially the security forces, well-meaning professional groups, individuals and colleagues.
“We are grateful to all those who joined us in prayers and advocacy whilst the episode lasted, especially his colleagues at the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC) and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), to name a few, ” Nweke said.
According to Nweke, editor of ITRealms : “Our prayers have been answered and we are eternally grateful to God and for the support, especially morally received till this news came.”
ALeP recalled that Mathew Onwuasoanya was abducted from his residence at the early hours of May 30, 2020, and rejoined his family and friends on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
Barr. Onwuasoanya is an indigene of Awba-Ofemili and works with the Anambra State-owned National Light Newspaper with Awka as work station.
Confirming this in a related statement he issued the MD/CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Awka, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, said Onwuasoanya confirmed that he was picked up by some security men as reported but has been released.
“Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), publisher of the National Light group of Newspapers, happily announce that our missing reporter, Barr. Mathew Onwuasoanya has been found,” Nnabuife said.
He was further quoted as “Managing Director and CEO of National Light, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, Editor of the newspaper, Mrs Rose Oranye, along with Chairman, Ananmbra State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Sir Emma Ifesinachi and the council’s Secretary, Mr. Emma Udeagha, on Thursday, July 9, 2020, met with Mr Onwuasoanya and members of his family.
“During the meeting, Barr. Onwuasoanya narrated his ordeal within the five weeks of his surprised absence. He explained that he was abducted from his residence on May 30, 2020. He confirmed that he was picked up by some security men as reported but he got released thereafter.
“After the shocking encounter with security agents which left him rattled, he promptly sought medical attention to attend to the traumatic experience. He disclosed that he received treatment all the while until he returned home while expressing his regret for his inability to reach out to anybody given that he lives alone and had lost his phones in the process.
“ANPC hereby specially express gratitude to Anambra State Government, led by Governor Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano (Akpokuedike) for his very rare fatherly concern. Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C.Don Adinuba; the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, CP John Abang; the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Ananmbra State Command; the NUJ executive and members in Ananmbra State.
“All operatives in the media industry within and outside Nigeria who contributed in no small way in tracing the whereabouts of Mr Onwuasoanya and identified with ANPC all through this period of dire need. We rejoice that we have found him.”