By Victor Ahiuma-Young
A former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and immediate past President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Tony Nted, has said four persons have been killed, while 32 others were kidnapped on “Ibada Elume Bridge”, Sapele, Delta State, in the last two months.
At a briefing in Lagos, Nted lamented that “in the last two months no fewer than 36 persons were kidnapped in the area called Ibada Elume Bridge, with four casualties.
“I suspect the kidnappings had being going on in that area before March this year. It was the kidnap of a labour leader in Warri Ports, Delta State that opened our eyes to the activities of these deadly kidnapping gangs of perceived to be herders and their collaborators.
“Samson Pere, one of the labour leaders at the Warri Ports, and five others were kidnapped by suspected herdsmen on March 5 and released on March 8 after paying ransom.
“Pere and his co-victims were tortured, beaten with cutlasses, and almost killed. Pere’s hands were almost severed by about eight armed men with AK-47 riffles suspected to be herdsmen, who kidnapped them.
“Three days after Pere and others released, precisely, on March 11, 17 persons were also kidnapped. On April 3, five persons were kidnapped. On April 7, eight persons were kidnapped.
“Unfortunately, four out of them were killed probably because of their inabilities to pay the ransom demanded.
“All these kidnappings took place same place: at Ibada Elume Bridge close to Sapele, Delta State. The number of persons kidnapped on that bridge since March is 36, including the four killed.
“It is difficult to believe that the Federal Government, the Delta State Government and the nation’s security agencies are not aware of these kidnaps on the bridge.
“From reports, immediately victims are abducted, they are taken into the nearby forest where all sorts of ill-treatment, including rape, are meted on female victims before ransoms are paid.
“Victims that cannot pay ransoms are killed. It saddens me that these kidnappings have continued to take place at the same place and our security agencies have not done anything to stop it or apprehend the culprits.
“The forest the area is not Sambisa Forest that the nation’s security agents cannot comb and fish out the criminals hiding there.
“This is not good enough and indeed, it unacceptable. If the government cannot secure us and our valuables from kidnappers and other criminal elements, the government should at least, give us permission to carry guns to defend and secure ourselves.
“We want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government and the Delta State Government to mobilise security agents to immediately move into the forest in the area and smoke out the bandits that made the Ibada Elume Bridge and its environ a living hell for motorists.”
He expressed worries over the spate of insecurity across the country, adding that “no day passes without one or more stories of kidnappings on our roads.
“The Federal and the state governments seem to have lost control of the situation. Our security operatives are either incapable or lack the capacity to confront these hoodlums who have turned our roads to hell.
“Or the bad eggs among the security agencies are aiding and abetting these criminals for their personal gains.”