BY IKE UCHECHUKWU(CALABAR)
At least Five Igbo businessmen have been abducted by hoodlums within three weeks in Calabar metropolis in Cross River causing fear among the Igbo community in the state.
Vanguard investigations revealed that while one Ifeanyi and Lazarus, spare parts dealers, were kidnapped two weeks ago, an electrical parts’ dealer and contractor popularly known as ‘But Why’ was whisked away on Monday.
The victims were said to have been kidnapped at their shops at Victor-Akan Street off Bedwell all in Calabar South.
Vanguard learned that while one Ifeanyi and Lazarus,both spare parts dealers, were kidnapped two weeks ago, an electrical dealer and contractor popularly known as ‘But Why’ was whisked away on Monday.
A family source told Saturday Vanguard that they have regained freedom after paying ransom of about 20 million naira.
However, the latest kidnapping of one popular Japanese spare parts dealer, Mr Paulinus Obi, popularly known as Matata, and Emmanuel Ozokwu a contractor have sent shivers down the spine of Igbo Community in Calabar.
Obi was kidnapped on Wednesday at Bedwell Street, while Ozokwu was whisked away on Thursday at Target Street all in Calabar South.
An eyewitness witness, Emeka Ofoegbu, said the Obi was kidnapped about 7:00pm on Wednesday, February 7, in front of his shop.
He said:“We were sitting out in front of Matata’s shop about 7:00pm having a drink and two young men wearing black all through walked up to Matata and excused him.As soon as he stood up another stern looking masked man came out from a parked old blue Audi 80 with AK 47 riffle and jerked Matata up and threw him into the car.
“Immediately the Audi 80 sped off with the three other persons, another Camry car parked down Bedwell by White House Street followed them and they zoomed off to unknown destination. Since then they have not called, neither have they sent any message as to the next thing we can do. Honestly, this is one kidnap too many and the traders would not take this matter lying low any longer.”
When contacted, the president of Igbo community in Calabar, Chief Albert Enya, described the incident as very unfortunate and called on security operatives to step up their activities in terms of patrol.
Enya who decried the incessant kidnap of Igbo business men, cautioned ‘Ndi Igbo to watch their back and be very cautious these days and promised that community would collaborate with the security operatives to find solution to the menace.
Confirming the kidnap of Mr Obi, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO,ASP Irene Ugbo, said they were aware of the kidnap and were on top of the situation as they were doing everything possible to ensure they were released.
“We are aware of the incident and we are doing our best to see to his release, we are not going to relent till they are released, and there shall be no hiding place for criminals in any part of Cross River state, “she assured.