Igbo business men and women living in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State have cried out to security agencies to come to their aid over what they described as the continued kidnap of their members in the area.
Gboko town is the traditional headquarters of the Tiv people where the palace of the Tor Tiv Professor James Ayatse is located. Recently, the town had been in the news with criminal activities on the increase notably from the build up to the 2019 general elections.
The Tiv monarch, His Royal Majesty Professor James Ayatse had raised concern over insecurity in Gboko when a member of the Police Service Commission (PSC) representing North central, Barr. Rommy Mom paid a courtesy visit on Tor Tiv.
The monarch observed that some policemen have served in Gboko town for more than 20 years and had become too familiar with criminals. Sunday Telegraph learnt that the wave of kidnappings continued unabated while only wealthy Igbo business men and women in the town have become the targets of the hoodlums.
According to reports, the Igbos in Gboko are now living in fears some are relocating to other towns for fear the unknown. Speaking exclusively to Sunday Telegraph, the spokesman for the Igbo community in Gboko, Chief Chukwu Okafor said many of his kinsmen have been kidnapped.
“The kidnappers are targeting only Igbo business men, whom they believed are wealthy; and security operatives in the area are helpless as they have not been able to arrest any suspected kidnapper,” Chief Okafor said.
According to the Igbo Chief, victims have been paying ransom to secure their release, with a warning that they would be killed if they report to police. He also said about 13 members of Igbo community in Gboko have been kidnapped from 2018 to date. Chief Okafor, however, expressed concern that recently, there are increasing cases where relations of kidnap victims paid ransom but the victims not released.
The latest kidnap victim, Aniegbu Chukwuka Kenneth, Sunday Telegraph learnt he was kidnapped on his way home on February 4, 2019 and that after he paid a ransom he was still held in captivity.
He named one Onyeka as one of the victims who was kidnapped on November 19, 2018. One Ugochukwu Ikegwuonu said he was first kidnapped on February 5, 2015 and later on the December 17, 2018, while Chief Celestine Agbo was kidnapped on the August 28, 2018. Sunday Telegraph learnt further that Lolo Esther Nwoke was kidnapped on the March 18, 2019, Cajetan Anya Ugochukwu on October 8 2018, Ifeanyi Ikegwuonu on October 28, 2017, Romanus Mouma kidnapped on the May 13, 2019 and Oluchukwu Orah (AKA) Orlando kidnapped on the May 13, 2019