Tony Osauzo, Benin
Suspected kidnappers have reportedly abducted a former chairman of the Akoko-Edo branch of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Alhaji Jimoh Olumoye, popularly known as JJ.
The victim, a staff of Owan East local government area, was said to have been abducted along Igarra-Okpe road Sunday afternoon while going to pick up his children from the farm.
A family source who broke the news to journalists said: “His children had gone to the farm early in the morning and he promised to go and pick them in the afternoon before he would attend his family meeting.
“The children waited endlessly for their father and when they did not see him, decided to trek home. On their way home, they saw his car by the roadside with the four doors open and his mobile phone abandoned. After searching for their father fruitlessly, they decided to now come home to inform the family.
“We have been praying for his safety; we are worried because he is a civil servant who also farms to augment whatever he is earning as a civil servant. We are appealing that his abductors should release him unhurt.
“He has an aged mother and everybody is scared of breaking the news to her; we are really worried,” she said.
It was gathered that Olumoye’s family had recovered his car and his phone and lodged a formal complaint at the Igarra police station.
It was also learnt that the various vigilante groups in Igarra, Ojah, Ogugu and the environs in Akoko-Edo local government area and their counterparts in Owan East have been mobilised to comb the forests around the area to forestall the escape of the kidnappers to neighbouring Ondo or Kogi states.
Meanwhile, a leader of one of the vigilante groups, who declined to be named, expressed disappointment with the slow response of authorities after they were contacted about the incident on Sunday evening.
“It was only the State Security Service that responded to our call immediately we heard about the incident and called them. We have mobilised our members and we are trying to track them down in the forests so they would move out to other states close to us,” he said.
More recently, a retired headmistress and her husband were abducted along the Igarra-Ibillo road, and were only released after a ransom price was paid.
A Catholic priest had similarly been kidnapped two months ago along the Igarra-Ikpeshi road and was rescued by a team of vigilantes and other security agents.
A spokesman for the Edo State Police Command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said he could not confirm the incident as he was away on a national assignment.