Home | Columnist | On the Rise Again

On the Rise Again

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Cases of kidnapping are again on the increase in Imo State

There is an upsurge in kidnapping in Imo State. The cases are much more than what happened in Abia State between 2008 and 2011. In those years, Abia which prides itself as God’s own state was literally turned into a jungle where kidnappers were kings. It took the intervention of soldiers before peace was restored in the state.

The same scenario is gradually playing out in Imo State. Criminality is the order of the day in the “Eastern Heartland.” Since May, this year, there has been an unprecedented upsurge in criminal activities, thereby disrupting not only business activities, but also the peace of some homes. No fewer than 10 people are being kidnapped weekly.

The kidnap of Michael Ekeruo, traditional ruler of Ifakala in Mbaitoli local govt area of the state, on June 10, has added a frightening dimension to the state of insecurity. This is the second time the monarch was abducted in three months. Ekeruo was forcefully abducted in a church in his community by gunmen after shooting sporadically to disperse the congregation on that fateful Sunday. They demanded N100 million as ransom. At the time of filing this report, the family of Ekeruo was yet to meet the demands of the kidnappers.

Ndubuizu Ugorji, a staff of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, Owerri, and Blessing Chidi, a female Immigration officer, were abducted two weeks ago on their way to work. Ugorji and Chidi, ordinarily should not have attracted the attention of kidnappers because they are not all that prominent, but their abduction seemed to expose the level of insecurity and the audacity of the kidnappers in carrying out their nefarious activities.

In most cases, they wine and dine with their victims, rape any women before taking them away to unknown destination.  This was the case in Umunama-Itu in Ezinihitte Mbaise local government area where one Ngozi, a house wife and mother of five, was serially raped by a three-man kidnap gang a few weeks ago before abducting her two children aged between 11 months and two years. On that day Ngozi was  jolted from her sleep by the men, who tied her hands, blindfolded her and took their turns in the sexual assault. “Raping me in turns was painful and traumatic, but I am more pained and worried about the whereabouts of my innocent children,” she lamented.

Anslem Iwuala, a pastor was abducted in Egberede Nguru in Aboh Mbaise local council area. After holding him captive for a few days, his family was able to cough out N500, 000 out of N20 million demanded for his release. This infuriated the kidnappers as they killed the pastor and dumped his  body near his village. Moses Amakor, former medical director, General Hospital, Owerri, did not also live to tell his story even after his family N30 million ransom. The people of Ohii in Owerri West Local Council are yet to come to terms with why he was killed. 

In Uvuru Mbaise, members of the community have lost faith in the security operatives, hence their resolve to seek the face of God for their safety. Recently, they organised a prayer session at the Orie Uvuru market square to seek God’s intervention. Many indigenes of the community have fled the area following incessant cases of kidnapping in the area. Godwin Madugba, the community’s spokesman, said the community had become “a shopping centre” for kidnappers as they come to take their victims at will.

The community has had five kidnap incidents in the last two months. The first victim was Charles Amuchie, a traditional title holder.  On the day of his kidnap, his captors broke the wall of his living room while he was watching programmes on television, bundled him into the booth of their exotic car and sped off.

Bonaventure Chukwuka, a medical doctor and owner of Orient Hospital, was abducted twice. Iheukwumere Alaribe, former president-general of the town union also tasted the bitter pill of kidnappers. Godfrey Dikeocha, former speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, was just released a few weeks ago. The kidnappers showed no respect for the mobile policemen stationed in his house as they whisked him away to where he spent two months with them before he regained his freedom after allegedly paying N50 million.

It has been alleged that the upsurge in kidnapping activities has political undertone. For instance, Vincent Odokwu, a medical doctor and former commissioner in the Ikedi Ohakim administration, was abducted a few days after he was dropped as commissioner.  Newswatch gathered that he was held incommunicado for 10 months, even when he allegedly paid the N50 million ransom. Odukwu’s abduction rattled Imo citizens. On many occasions, they were alleged to have taken Odokwu to his hospital, showed him to his staff, and took him away unchallenged. When he was eventually released, the kidnappers took away one of his nurses. She was eventually released after two months.

But in all these, what has the government done to checkmate the activities of these marauders? Okey Okorocha, senior special assistant to Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State, on security matters, said the government was on top of the situation. He insisted that kidnap cases have reduced since the inception of the present administration.


  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

No tags for this article

Rate this article


Breaking News

Indicted Companies, Their Owners

Many highly placed Nigerians who own some of the companies indicted for fuel subsidy offences are likely to be arraigned in court this week The stage ...

Still a Killing Field

Fear and grief take the centre stage again in Jos after another round of crisis leading to the death of more than140 persons including two ...

Battle to Save LGs

A presidential committee headed by retired Justice Alfa Belgore suggests ways to salvage the nation’s local governments from the over bearing influence of state governors The ...

Twist in the Akpabio’s Murder Case

The family of the murdered Akpabio brothers rejects the setting up of a security committee to investigate the multiple murder incident and demands explanation for ...

Akwa Ibom Triumphs

Cross River State loses its bid to reclaim 76 oil wells which it lost through its declassification as a littoral state For Godswill Akpabio, governor of ...

Danger at the Door

Fear of religious war looms as Boko Haram sect targets churches and Christians for attacks T he   ordination   ceremony of Matthew Hassan Kukah as the Catholic ...

Danger at the Door

Fear of religious war looms as Boko Haram sect targets churches and Christians for attacks T he   ordination   ceremony of Matthew Hassan Kukah as the Catholic ...

Christians Have a Right to Defend Themselves

Gabriel Osu, monsignor and director of communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, speaks to Anthony Akaeze, assistant editor, on a number of issues relating to the ...

It’s Not a War Against Christians

Lateef Adegbite, secretary general, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, speaks to Dike Onwuamaeze, principal staff writer, and Ishaya Ibrahim, staff writer, on Boko Haram. Excerpts: Newswatch: ...

Northern Cities Under Siege

Kaduna, Zaria and Damaturu are still smouldering with smoke following another round of Boko Haram bombing of churches and reprisal attacks by Christians The June 17 ...