By CrossRiverWatch Admin
I got a very scurrilous message from one of my governor’s aides last night after “The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo”, our every Sunday radio program on Hit 95.9FM Calabar.
We discussed the worsening spate of kidnappings in Cross River state and what can be done to stem the tide.
Some content of the program did not go down well with this aide.
The aide accused me of sensationalizing and making false claims about increased cases of kidnapping in the state, without facts.
This aide was particularly angry that we reeled out the litany of kidnappings that have bestrided the state in the past two years, on air.
I got a piece of the aide’s mind…very raw and unusual.
The aide concluded that it was a ploy to “tarnish our brother’s image.” (by the way, me and the governor are both from Obudu, so he is my brother…dont be jealous.)
But I wish to reiterate here that the spate of kidnappings in Cross River state has dramatically spiked since governor Ayade took over.
The Ak-47 Economy is growing muscles under his watch.
This is not a political statement. It is a statement of fact.
I am talking not as an enemy of Ayade but as a concerned Cross Riverian who sees everything wrong with the prevailing situation and want the governor to do something more urgent and drastic, lest we lapse into anarchy.
Matter-of-factly, even his own appointees are afraid of walking or driving around these days.
I present available facts for you below.
All the incidents listed here were reported by CrossRiverWatch and I believe there are several others that both CrossRiverWatch and this article were not able to track.
June 2015, Chief Librarian of FCE Obudu, Godwin Angiating, was kidnapped in Obudu.
Same month, a four and half year old child was kidnapped at Awi, Akamkpa LGA.
Another two and a half year old child was also kidnapped at Idang, Calabar South in the same month.
On the 9th of July 2015, a one year and nine months old baby was kidnapped at Ikot Abasi Obori Street, Ikot Ishi Town, Calabar.
In September 2015, the younger brother of former DSS Director General, Ita Enang was kidnapped in Odukpani.
By March 2016, a suspected ritual killer abducted a three year old girl in Bakassi.
April 2016, Bartholomew Effiong, was kidnapped and later rescued by the Police at Nassarawa bacoco in the outskirts of Calabar.
May 2nd 2016, bandits invaded UNICAL staff quarters and kidnapped, Dr. Simon Ndifon, his wife and daughter.
Same month, Mrs Anyocha, a Principal Lecturer of Igbo language at the Federal College of Education, Obudu was kidnapped.
Pastor Walter Ibe, a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science in the same school was also kidnapped in the same month resulting in a mass protest by staff of the school.
Same month, a prominent Calabar business man, Chief Kenneth Okeanyawu Okpala, was kidnapped in Calabar and died after his release and payment of 10m ransom.
A nanny, Covenant Bassey, on May 13, 2016, kidnapped a one year, five months old baby she was nursing in Calabar and demanded ransom from the parents. She was later arrested by the Police.
By June 2016, a brutal criminal ambush saw three foreign nationals working for Lafarge Cement, kidnapped in Akamkpa while one police man was shot dead.
In July 2016, Senator Patrick Ani was kidnapped in Calabar.
In that same week, Ededem Ita, a former Special Adviser on Labor Matters to Liyel Imoke, was kidnapped in Calabar.
In October 2016, the wife of retired AIG Joseph Mbu, was kidnapped in Calabar. (Mind you, Mbu hails from Etung LGA in central Cross River in case you don’t know.)
In the same month, the Executive Secretary of Obudu Urban Development, Canice Atsu, was kidnapped in Obudu.
In November 2016, a Catholic women leader, Bibiani Elemi-Edu, was kidnapped in Calabar.
By February, 2017 the bandits turned their attention to the governor’s LGA, Obudu, and in quick succession, they made a huge harvest.
February 7, 2017, Jude Akwagiobe Agaba, popularly known as FG, a crippled petty business man was kidnapped in a remote village, Ohong, in Obudu and the family paid one million Naira to the criminals to regain his freedom.
Five days after, the owner of Simbless Pharmaceutical shop in Obudu simply identified as Simon but popularly known as ‘Jehovah’ was also kidnapped.
In March 2017, George Imanyi, owner of Valley of Beracha hotel in Obudu was kidnapped.
March 9, 2017, a six year old child was also kidnapped in Obudu while the police arrested several suspects over the incidents.
Then, UNICAL don, Prof. Edet Ekpeyong was also kidnapped in the same month in Calabar.
In April 2017, 3 year old Ukame Ubong, was kidnapped in Calabar.
In the same month, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, Gabriel Odu-Oji was kidnapped from his girl friend’s house in Annantigha, Calabar South and kept for a whooping 31 days by the kidnappers before his release.
In June, former Information Commissioner, Youth and Sport Commissioner, CPS to governor Imoke and CEO of Cross River’s lone private FM station, Hit 95.9FM Calabar, Patrick Ugbe, was also kidnapped
Then just this weekend, Peter Igbodo, a former House of Representatives member representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency, was also kidnapped at a gym in Calabar and later released by his abductors.
I however, will not chronicle these events without also talking about the effort that government is making to deal with the problem.
It is noteworthy that, from Police records, within the period in review, have nabbed over 50 suspects who are either in custody or at different stages of prosecution over kidnap cases in the state.
In Obudu alone, 22 persons were arrested including some Benue indegenes.
The government of Senator Ayade also successfully passed the Anti-Kidnapping law also known as “Hafiz Law” (named after the Cross River State CP, Inuwa Hafiz), with a one million Naira reward for actionable intel from citizens.
The governor has also liased with federal authorities to deploy troops in several flash points across the state including Obudu amidst concerns that the troops are harassing and molesting citizens.
But inspite of all these, the bandits are getting bolder.
And like I said earlier, something more urgent needs to be done and I believe the governor still has a lot more he can do in that respect.
I do not hold that nothing is been done. But whatever is been done is simply not enough.
Now, if you are not worried by these horrific incidents and your desire is to abuse me because you think I am attacking your Best Man, I can only pity you because that’s exactly what you deserve.
But before you abuse me, know that Best Men are only found in weddings.
Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch