By Bassey Inyang
Seriously worried about the kidnapping of their members, the Igbo community in Cross River State, comprising traders and others, has decided to close their shops and suspend their services for two days to protest the rampant kidnap of Igbo people doing business in the state.
Operating under the aegis of Igbo Unity Forum (IUF), the group complained that at least 35 business men from Igbo extraction had been kidnapped in the last one year, and that they had been forced to cough out hundreds of millions of naira as ransom for them to regain their freedom.
At a press briefing in Calabar early in the week where they lamented their plight in the hands of the kidnappers who have made their lives and business environment most uncomfortable, the coordinator of IUF, Okechukwu Ebubedike, said a date for all Igbo business men and women to close shops throughout Calabar metropolis and its environs in protest against the incessant kidnap of their members would soon be announced.
Ebubedike disclosed that the decision to close shops and shut down their business for two days was taken at an emergency meeting attended by all major stakeholders and members of town unions of the Igbo extraction resident and doing business in the state.
The group leader, who is also the chairman of Igbo Professionals in the state, that at least 30 prominent Igbo men and their wives and daughters have been kidnapped in the state in the last one year.
He said the victims, their families and members of the Igbo community in the state were forced to pay huge amount as ransom to secure the freedom of the victims of the frequent abductions.
Ebubedike disclosed that between N5million to N30million was paid as ransom to secure the release of the victims from the kidnappers, some of whom he said were brutally manhandled and injured by their captors.
“We have been made targets of kidnappers. We are now preys in the hands of criminals and everybody seem not to bother because it is Igbos. But we will resist it because we are here to do business and assist in developing the state sincerely. So, we can no longer fold our hands and watch our people being used as money-making machines by kidnappers,” Ebubedike said.
Ebubedike appealed to the state government to step up security surveillance within the metropolis so as to provide the necessary security, not only to members of the Igbo business community, but to every member of the society in the state.
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