By Jonathan Ugbal and Ikwen Atuaka
The planned protest by youths in Obudu over recent kidnappings planned for Friday morning may have been botched due to political pressure on the youth President, Benedict Agba who ‘chickened out’ CrossRiverWatch authoritatively reports.
But Benedict says his intention was to send a warning and a 7 day ultimatum was issued.
He accused officers of the Nigeria Police Force, Obudu division, of complicity noting that; “some of them have been here for ten years!” and cited familiarity as a reason for their under performance as well as calling for a mass transfer of the officers.
Our correspondent reports that a crowd had gathered at the cyclists park in Obudu as early as 6:00 AM only for the Community Relations Officer to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River in Obudu, Emmanuel Akwagiobe to appear and the placards which had several messages inscribed on them, were handed over to him with a promise he will deliver them to the Governor.
Agba corroborated this but refuted allegations that he chickened out or was paid. He said that the calling off of the protest which he described as “a warning” was because he did not want to raise “tension”.
CrossRiverWatch had reported the planned protest was to send a strong message to relevant authorities with Agba telling our correspondent that; “We have informed all the Chiefs and Clan heads, the rate of kidnapping in Obudu has gone haywire, something must be done.
“We have sent letters across (to the) businessmen, all the unions in Obudu about the rally and it starts tomorrow (today) by 6am. We the youths will move by 6am tomorrow (Friday) morning and block all the entrance to town then start our match around town” Ben added.
Obudu has seen a wave of kidnappings with the kidnap of the Chief Librarian of the Federal College of Education Obudu, Mr Godwin Angiating in June 2015 following that of Sunday Anagwe, a businesman kidnapped in March 2015.
The abduction of Pastor Walter Ibe, a lecturer in the department of Computer Science in the same institution in May 2016 followed suit and in October 2016, staff of the institution protested following the kidnap of one Mrs. Anyocha, a principal lecturer of Igbo language.
About three days after the protest, the Chairman of the Obudu Urban Development Authority, Canice Atsu kidnapped four days earlier was released.
Jude Akwagiobe Agaba, popularly referred to as ‘FG’, a palm wine seller for decades was abducted in a vehicle which looked like it had gone to the auto shop with damaged body parts with his pregnant wife beaten and kicked in the stomach on February 2, 2017 and was released a week later after an initial ransom demand of NGN5Million was relaxed to NGN1Million.
Five days after FG’s release, a man simply identified as Simon who owns the Simbless pharmaceutical shop, at No. 1 Uquart Street, in Obudu and popularly referred to as ‘Jehovah’ was abducted at about 8:30pm in his house after closure from his shop.
He was released last weekend with the Police nabbing 5 suspects which includes 3 women and 2 men following the discovery of a trail of blood discovered on their car heading towards Vandeikya.
On Wednesday night, one George Imanyi, a hotelier, became the eighth victim and the third in quick succession to be kidnapped between February 2, 2017 and March 1, 2017.