- Security concerns have reached a worrying height in Imo as criminal elements take advantage of security lapses in the state
- In recent times, some areas in the southeast state have witnessed unprecedented forceful abductions of residents
- Police sources say the criminal activities are carried out by unknown gunmen who relocated to the hinterland after being hounded in the city centre
According to the report, in the last one week, no fewer than six persons were abducted from Abba, Isu, Abajah and Dim Na Nume communities.
Three men operating in two Highlander SUVs, last Friday, June 11 abducted one Mr. Chimezie Okpara in his village of Umudurunna, Abba.
Okpara was, however, released on Tuesday night, June 15 in Owerri after paying some unspecified amount of money as ransom.
A few days later, a prominent man was kidnapped in Abajah and he was released days later paying N5 million ransom.
Two men were also said to have been abducted at Isu, while a reverend sister and another woman were abducted at Dim na Nume.
Fear grips residents in affected communities
The incidents have sent shock waves to the neighbouring communities of Amaigbo, Owerre Nkworji, and Nkwerre.
A community leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the communities were terrified by the new trend.
It was gathered that the police are working on the theory that most of the unknown gunmen dislodged from the city centres are responsible for the kidnapping.
This had prompted the police command to deploy special forces to the hinterland to check the ugly trend.
Missionary workers not spared by kidnappers
The Nation newspaper had earlier reported that two women, including a reverend sister, were kidnapped around the area recently
It was gathered the reverend sister, whose identity is not known, was driving when the kidnappers crossed and forced her to stop.
An eyewitness said the kidnappers forced her into their get-away car while one entered and drove her car behind.
In a related development, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo has enjoined Imolites to always embrace peace, stressing that it is a panacea for development in the state.
The governor made the comment on Saturday, June 12 in his state-wide broadcast monitored by Legit.ng to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day.
He said it is remarkable that this year’s Democracy Day is coming at a time the state is faced with several security challenges, adding that the problem threatens the age-long democracy enjoyed by the people.
Meanwhile, to address the growing insecurities recorded in the southeast, the Igbos in Nigeria Movement (INM) has urged the chief of army staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya, to return previous military operations to the region.
The group in a statement seen by Legit.ng and signed by INM's secretary-general, JohnBosco Ike on Wednesday, June 17, said special operations by the Nigerian army should be re-introduced in the southeast.
Ike said the need to curb the escalating crime rate and destruction of government facilities including security outfits and electoral offices cannot be overemphasized.