Residents of Calabar, the Cross River state capital, have expressed concern that most victims of kidnap cases in Cross River had been of Igbo extraction, particularly with the recent kidnap of five of them within the last few weeks.
In his reactions, the president of Igbo community in Calabar, Chief Albert Enya, described as “very worrisome” incessant abduction of his kinsmen and therefore cautioned the Igbo community to be on red alert, saying the community would collaborate with authorities to find a solution to what has become a known menace.
Blueprint further learnt that the Igbo community had, at the weekend, planned a peaceful protest to the palace of the Obong of Calabar and some government agencies, including the state Police Command to register their grievances, but the protest was postponed at the last minute.
A resident, one Uzor Peters, wondered why kidnappers were targeting the Igbos, saying: “We are not the richest people in Calabar, it is only that we are enterprising and focused. What crime have we committed? If they do not want us here, they should tell us and we will gladly relocate, afterall, some of our friends have moved to Akwa Ibom and other States where they are doing very well. I do not think the Police in Cross River are taking security as a priority.”
It would be recalled that those recently kidnapped within the period include two spare parts dealers identified as Ifeanyi and Lazarus; an electrical parts dealer and contractor popularly known as “But Why,” as well as another popular businessman known as Mr. Paulinus Obi, also known as ‘Matata.’
A witness, Chukwuemeka Okoli, who spoke on Obi’s kidnap said: “We were sitting out in front of Matata shop about 7:00 pm 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 an AK 47 rifle, jerked Matata up and threw him into the car. Immediately, the Audi 80 drove off with the three other persons, another Camry car parked down Bedwell by White House Street followed them and they zoomed off to an unknown destination.”
Commenting on the issue, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Irene Ugbo, said “we are aware of the incidents and we are doing our best to ensure it stops and to see to the release of victims.”