Judex Okoro, Calabar
Palpable tension has gripped the business community in Cross River as five businessmen had been abducted by kidnappers in the past three weeks within the Calabar metropolis.
Investigations revealed that while Ifeanyi and Lazarus, motor 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 kidnapped at their shops at Victor Akan Street, Calabar South. Family sources however said they have regained freedom after paying ransom running into millions of naira.
However, the latest kidnapping of another spare parts dealer, Mr Paulinus Obi, popularly known as Matata, and Emmanuel Ozokwu, a contractor has sent shivers down the spine of Igbo community in the state capital.
Obi was kidnapped on Wednesday at Bedwell Street, while Ozokwu was whisked away on Thursday at Target Street all in Calabar South. A witness, Chukwuemeka Okoli, said Obi was kidnapped at 7pm on Wednesday, February 7, in front of his shop.
Narrating the incident, Okoli said: “We were sitting out in front of Matata shop about 7pm 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 car with AK 47 riffle and jerked Matata up and threw him into the car. Immediately, the Audi 80 car drove off with the three other persons, while a 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.”
Reacting, the president of Igbo community, Calabar, Chief Albert Enya, described the incident as very unfortunate and called on security operatives to step up efforts in terms of patrol. Decrying the incessant kidnap of Igbo businessmen, Enya cautioned Indi Igbo to watch their back and be very cautious, promising that the Igbo community would collaborate with security operatives to find lasting solution to the menace.
Confirming the kidnap of Mr Obi, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Irene Ugbo, said: “We are aware of the incident and we are doing our best to see to his release.”