The family, friends and colleagues of a professor of Nuclear Physics, James Olomo, are anxious over the whereabouts of the academic.

Our correspondent gathered that Olomo, a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, left his work place for Eket, Akwa Ibom State, for a business in the middle of October but had not been seen since then.

It was learnt that the professor had told some friends and relations on the telephone from Eket, on Saturday, October 19, of his departure to Lagos. He had yet to be seen in the state.

Our correspondent gathered that Olomo was likely to have been kidnapped because of his prowess on oil theft detection.

Also, it was also gathered that he was first kidnapped 10 years ago on July 16th 2003 and released exactly a month later on August 16th of the same year.

Then, it was learnt that he went for a meeting with some people in the oil industry before this his disappearance.

“His unique power in discovering oil theft could be responsible. The powers behind illegal bunkering do not like him. This is the second time its happening to him. The first incidence was in transit between Akure and Ife,” a source said.

One of his friends, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ?It was on his return journey to Lagos the next day through Calabar, Cross River State, that something went amiss. I am very sure about that.?

It was learnt that when nothing was heard from the professor after a few days, one of his relatives in Lagos became worried and called OAU to be sure if Olomo changed his mind and had gone to Ile-Ife instead of coming to Lagos.

The initial enquiry soon turned to panic as nobody was able to contact him.

It was learnt that although the family had reported the matter to the police, nothing had turned up to suggest where the man was.

The family, however, expressed optimism that the professor would be found alive.

A statement by the family secretary, Sule Salami, read in part: ?We appreciate efforts made so far by all the arms of security, colleagues, friends and his employers to solve the riddle of his disappearance, but we are sad that Olomo, whom we believe is alive, is still held incommunicado by some persons.?

The OAU management, however, said it was not treating Olomo?s disappearance as kidnapping, but rather, as a case of missing person.

A statement by the OAU Public Relations Officer, Biodun Olarewaju, said there was not enough evidence to conclude that he was kidnapped.

Olarewaju said, ?One of our senior lecturers is missing. We have put the security agencies on the alert. We seek the intervention of public to provide information about his whereabouts to the nearest police station or the university management.

?All efforts to trace him have proved abortive. We don?t know if he has been kidnapped; but if he is, we expected that the abductors should have contacted either the school authority or his family for a ransom, but that has not been done.?

Head of Physics Department, OAU, Joshua Ojo, described his disappearance as shocking.

?We are indeed at a loss. Olomo has been instrumental to the development of this department and a very amiable person. We pray that he will be found very soon,? he said.

Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, OAU branch, Adegbola Akinola, said everything was being done to unravel Olomo?s whereabouts.

He said: ?Last month, we got the information that Oloma could no longer be contacted. We called his telephone numbers, but none was working. We tried to track the phones to no avail. We have contacted our colleagues in the area to let them know about the situation.?

A top official at the Osun State Police Command confirmed to our correspondent that Olomo was missing.

When contacted, the acting Police Public Relations Officer for Akwa Ibom command, Mr. John Patrick, said report on the missing lecturer had been made known to the public.

He said Olomo got missing after he left his hotel in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

?We have received report about the missing Olomo. We are investigating it. The issue has been broadcast on the radio,? he added.

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