The Igbo Union in Benue State, comprising Igbo residents in various parts of Benue State, on Monday raised fresh alarm over their safety.
This is as they lamented that despite security measures being put in place by the State Governor, Samuel Ortom, their lives and property have continued to be in danger, especially in the hands of kidnappers.
So far Igbo residents in Benue have lost three persons to the kidnappers and paid a total of N277 million as ransom to free 48 victims.
They expressed satisfaction with the security measures so far initiated by Governor Ortom to ensure security of lives and property in the State.
Speaking through its PRO, Mr. Emmanuel Ezeadi, to journalists in Enugu, the Union thanked Gov Ortom for promptly responding to the clarion call made by the union recently, in which it alerted the nation that Igbos in Benue State have become endangered.
Ezeadi noted however, that while the Benue State Government has initiated several measures to check the menace of kidnappers, local gangs and Fulani herdsmen, in the State; these hoodlums have devised other means of terrorizing the Igbo communities including anonymous threat calls, unsolicited nocturnal visits by hooded local gangs demanding instant payment of “protection fees” at gun points, etc.
While giving a breakdown of huge financial losses so far incurred by the Igbo communities in Benue State especially in Gboko, Adikpo-Kwande, Ukum Zaki-Biam and Katsina-Ala LGAs of the State, Ezeadi, noted that since February 2017 till date, there have been 48 recorded cases of abduction of Igbo business men and women across the aforementioned LGAs with a total ransom of over N277million paid out to these abductors with some of the victims murdered even after the demanded ransom had been paid.
Mr. Ezeadi called on both the Benue and Federal Governments to increase its security surveillance around areas dominated by non-indigenes especially Igbo businessmen and women to forestall incidences of kidnapping and barefaced extortion.
It will be recalled that in recent times the spate of kidnaps and killings of persons of Igbo extraction in Benue State have risen to dizzying heights prompting calls by the Igbo Youths Movements for the recalibration of the security architecture in Nigeria and especially in Benue State.
In a recent press statement, the group expressed dismay with the way reports concerning security of Ndigbo in Benue State have been handled with levity and non-challance by the security agencies in the State; warning that Igbos in Benue State may be forced into aggressive defence of their lives and property.
Ezeadi gave a graphic picture of kidnapping activities against Igbo residents in the four local government areas as follows:
Victims resident in Gboko LGA: Ugochukwu Ikechukwu, abducted Feb., 5th, 2017, paid N5 million before release; Ikeagwuonu Ifeanyi, abducted 28th Oct., 2017, paid N3 million before release; Chief Celestine Agbo, abducted 28th Sept., 2018, paid N5 million before released; Onyeka Okpara 11th Oct, abducted 2018, paid N4 million before release;Ugochukwu Ikechukwu (Kidnapped for the 2nd Time) Dec, 1st, 2018, paid N5 million before released; and Aniegbu Chukwuka Kenneth, abducted 4th Feb, 2019, paid N10 million and yet murdered because of delay in payment of ransom.
Others are: Romanus Muoma, abducted 13th March, 2019, paid N6 million before release; Lolo Esther J. Nwoke (target was the husband but the husband escaped and the wife was abducted) 18th March 2019, paid N11 million before release; Oluchukwu Onah (a.k.a Orlando) May, 2019, paid N10 million before release; Mrs. Dycon (target was the husband but the husband escaped and the wife was abducted), abducted 7th June, 2019, Paid N8 million before release; and Chief Donatus Okeke Dunu, abducted 13th June, 2019, paid N5 million before release.
Others are: Edwin Omeje, abducted 13th June, 2019, paid N3 million before release; Mrs. Chukwudi Arinze, abducted 1st July, 2019, paid N7 million before release; Leonard Nzere 8th Aug., 2019, paid N5 million release; and Cajetan Anya Ugochukwu, abducted 8th Oct., 2019, paid N10 million before release.
Victims resident in Adikpo-Kwande LGA: Mr. Uzochukwu Okereke, adducted March, 2018, paid N5 million before release; Chief Fredrick Njida, abducted April, 2018, paid N5 million before release; Mrs Okereke (Wife of Chief Okereke, who was earlier kidnapped in March 2018), abducted December, 5th 2018, paid N4 million before release; Mr. Imo Okoko, abducted 13th January 2019, paid N3 million before release; Mr Imo Okoko (2nd time of abduction) on May 7th2019, paid N6 million before release; Mr. Charles Chukwu, abducted 17th July 2019, paid N6 million before release; and Mrs. Imo Okoko, abducted August 2019, paid N8 million before release.
Victims resident in Ukum Zaki-Biam LGA: Mrs. Rita Arinze, abducted 4th June 2019, paid ransom of N8 million but still murdered; Ngozichukwu Onyedika Aghaedo, abducted 30th May 2019, paid N5 million before release; Mrs. R. N. Okeke, abducted August 2018, paid N6 million before release; Mrs. Emerike Udenweze, abducted December 2018, paid N8 million before release; Mr. Ifeanyi Ekeh, abducted August 2018, paid N5 million before release; and Mr. Christian Iloani, abducted 12th March 2019, paid N8 million before release.
Others from the same local government area are: Mrs. Ifeoma Eyiutche, abducted July 2019, paid N5 million before release; Mr. Chidi Okri, abducted September 2019, paid N4 million before release; Mrs. Chinelo Okafor, abducted August 2019, paid N7 million before release; and Mr. Fabian Ogochukwu Onah, abducted 7thSeptember 2019, paid N4 million before release.
Victims resident in Katsina-Ala LGA: there are 15 of them including; Mr. Leonard Enemuo, abducted June 2018, paid N7million, but eventually killed; Miss Chinonye Ejikeme, abducted August 31st, 2019, paid N4 million before release; and Mr. Chinedu Onodo, abducted 10th Sept, paid N5 million, before release.