There is uneasy calm in Eha-Amufu, in the Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State after suspected herdsmen allegedly kidnapped in one week seven residents who returned for Christmas and New Year celebrations.
PUNCH Metro gathered that about five persons were abducted on Monday along the Eha-Amufu-Agu-Amede-Ikem road.
A community leader, Mr Divine Nwonye, who hails from Agu-Amede community in Eha-Amufu, told our correspondent that his younger brother, who came home to celebrate Christmas, was among those kidnapped.
He said there was no week without a report of people being kidnapped by bandits suspected to be herdsmen along the Eha-Amufu-Ikem road.
“There is no road or security in Isi-Uzo LGA and it is made worse because of bad road. I am begging the governor to look into our plight and save us from the incessant kidnapping along the Eha-Amufu-Agu-Amede-Ikem federal road. Within this year alone, we have recorded no fewer than 10 abductions with 23 people involved.
“Our people have paid several millions of naira in ransom to herdsmen, while about three people were killed along the road by the same bandits,” he added.
Nwonye stated that in the last one week, they recorded seven kidnap cases on the road.
“The same bandits after releasing a Catholic priest in one of the parishes in Eha-Amufu, yesterday (Monday) kidnapped about five people just after the Federal College of Education.
“As it is now, the abductors have not contacted us. The last time they kidnapped the eight-year-old daughter of the chairman of Agu-Amede community, the Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Lawal, told us to go and pay ransom to the kidnappers. That has worsened our situation as police hardly come when contacted for any case of kidnapping,” he stated.
While lamenting the incessant kidnapping along the Eha-Amufu-Ikem road, Nwonye said he had abandoned his rice farm for fear of being abducted.
Another community leader, Raymond Ugwu, said it was unfortunate that the state government could not stop the abductions by fixing the road, which was less than five kilometres.
He said, “The kidnapping along the Eha-Amufu-Ikem road is largely because of bad road. Every time, our people are running on that road and we don’t have any option than that. On Monday, they kidnapped our people, but I don’t know exactly the number; but they are more than two.
“The report I got was that the kidnappers started their operation from 5pm and that was the time our people were returning to their villages and communities. Kidnappers are making the road miserable for us. Our people are no longer going to the market. They are no longer moving around safely; everybody is running helter-skelter.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the state police command were unsuccessful as the police spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, could not be reached on his telephone line.
He also did not respond to a text message sent to him on the abductions.