CALABAR—THE Obong of Calabar, Cross River State, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, has joined the Igbo community in raising the alarm over the wave of kidnapping of Igbo business persons in the state and called on the state government to reinforce security residents in the state.
Igbo leader, Chief Albert Enya, who first blew the whistle, said: “”We have been fighting the trend, we have been talking to government and kidnapping must stop.” The monarch condemned in strong terms the spate of kidnappings in the Calabar metropolis, stressing that the act was capable of crippling the economy of the state if government did not intervene speedily.
HRM Otu V, who spoke during an interactive session with the Igbo Community in Cross River state, in his palace, said: “If anything affects the capital city definitely it will affect the entire state, the rate of kidnapping is alarming. We invited only the Igbo because we have realized that it looks as if a group or a body have singled out Igbo brothers of ours, targeted them, and keep kidnapping them thereby making life unbearable for all of us.
“As royal fathers, if we keep quiet, which means we are condoning, supporting and it means that we are allowing this act to go on. “Many Igbo are being kidnapped and the ransom demanded has been so high as they pay through their nose and unfortunately, they still pick up their wives and if you look at it, it
is collapsing the economy of the state which is not so good and we cannot close our eyes and allow this to continue,” the Obong said. Responding, the leader of Igbo Community in Cross River State, Chief Emmanuel Ezewenyi said: “It has become a daily affair and we pay heavily for our freedom, they force you to pay and sincerely, it is becoming unbearable and worrisome, the Igbos are no longer sleeping with two eyes closed.”
Also speaking, President emeritus of the group, Chief Fidelis Onyebueke , said: “We are no longer safe, our wives and children are not safe, we now leave our businesses as early as 5.00 pm to avoid being kidnapped, and our wives cannot go the market freely because they too are at risk of being kidnapped.”
Govt hunting the criminals
Contacted, State Security Adviser , SSA, to the Governor, Mr. Jude Ngaji, told Niger Delta Voice: “Generally speaking, the government is not sleeping on this particular matter; government has purchased some modern equipment that will help in tracking down these miscreants. We have mapped out strategies to curb the menace.”