Enugu: The last certainly has not been heard of the “NELAN 5”, five consultant engineers working with NELAN Engineering Ltd, Enugu who got abducted about a year ago, since 3rd November, 2021 in Ishielu Ebonyi State while handling the rehabilitation of Ring Road in the state, as consultants of the $150 million African Development Bank (AfDB) project as the Ebonyi State Government’s claims on the claimed corpses of the five men has been scientifically punctured through DNA evidence.
This comes as the deoxyribonucleic acid tests otherwise known as DNA tests carried out on the bodies which Governor David Umahi led-Ebonyi government and the Nigeria Police Force claimed were the corpses of the five missing engineers returned negative.
Chairman of the Enugu branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Engr Chigbo Obealor, MNSE disclosed this to journalists last Saturday in an interview shortly after his investiture as the 20th Chairman of NSE of the branch and inauguration of new executives at the Dannic Hotel, Enugu
Five consultants namely Engr. Nelson Onyemeh (lead consultant/Chief Executive Officer of NELAN Engineering Ltd) from Ihiala in Anambra State; Engr. Ernest Edeani from Nkanu in Enugu State; Ikechukwu Ejiofor from Umunya in Oyi LGA of Anambra State; Engr. Samuel Aneke from Nkanu in Enugu-East LGA of Enugu State and Engr. Stanley Nwazulum from Amawbia in Awka-South LGA of Anambra State got missing on November 3, 2021, when they went to Abakaliki to supervise work at the Ring Road project.
Several reports, including from the engineers themselves, had accused the state government of hostility and undue interference towards the consultants in the discharge of their duties, prior to their abduction.
However, in order to extricate the government from any culpability, Umahi during a security meeting in Ebonyi on November 30, 2021, reportedly disclosed that the abducted five engineers were killed and buried in the state by the Ezza Warriors. The police also in what appeared as complicity hastily claimed to have found the bodies of the missing engineers where they were buried in a shallow grave.
Surprisingly, neither the police nor the Ebonyi State Government has been able to categorically reveal the identity of the said Ezza Warriors.
Furthermore, following a furore raised by the affected families that the bodies of the engineers should be produced dead or alive, the police exhumed bodies it claimed were bodies of the missing engineers. Not convinced that the exhumed bodies belong to engineers, the family insisted on DNA tests.
The results of the DNA tests all returned negative, triggering questions on whether the engineers were killed by Ezza warriors as claimed by the Ebonyi state government and police.
Speaking with journalists, the NSE Chairman, insisted that until proven otherwise they want their colleagues back, alive and well.
Obealor stated that an Investigative Panel of NSE is investigating the cause of the sudden disappearance of the engineers in the state without a trace.
On the issue of what the NSE is doing to unravel the disappearance of the five members, the chairman said, “The matter is before investigative panel and for the last month we heard the results of DNA test that all the test came negative.
“They exhumed some bodies and went to the laboratory to know if actually it matches with their relatives but the results came negative. So the search continues. We must unveil what transpired. As far as I am concerned we still need our brothers back. Five engineers left Enugu for Abakaliki on November 3rd 2021 and up till now the vehicle and the personnel are still missing. We are in the mourning stage.”
On the fact that the police and Ebonyi State Government have declared them dead, he said that there is no proof that they are dead.
“To me until proven otherwise I still believe that they are alive and I want to see our colleagues alive and well,” he said