By Chamba Simeh
A humanitarian worker and human rights activist, Mr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, who is the National President of Persons With Disability Initiative Nigeria, was kidnapped and tortured last week by suspected kidnappers where he led a team of volunteers on a free distribution of hearing aids, walking sticks and some relief materials to persons with disabilities between Akilbu and Rijana villages along the Abuja-Kaduna highway.
Narrating his ordeal to newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Augustine said the kidnappers had warned him to “stop fraternising with some politicians in the opposition against the interest of the ruling government.
“They clearly warned me to stop exercising my freedom of expression given to me by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They beat me and tortured me mercilessly and told me that it was the last warning from them and that they would be monitoring my movements, associations and utterances.
“I am afraid for my life because I am a person with disability. We are in a democracy but I am not allowed to freely associate with persons or groups recognised by the law of my country”, he said.
The visibly shaken humanitarian worker said it was the third time in a row he was being attacked, trailed by suspected assassins who had sent messages of threats to kill him unless he mobilises persons with disabilities in Nigeria for a certain political party to win elections in the 2023 general elections.
According to him, he was trailed by the abductors sent by their political masters from Abuja and after they had picked him and beaten him mercilessly for two days, they abandoned him in an utterly helpless situation before some good Samaritans picked him from the bush where he was abandoned by his assailants.
He therefore called on the security agencies to put in more efforts to tackle the worsening security situation in the country.