Kidnapping has returned in full swing to Cross River State as about three persons have been kidnapped in the last three weeks even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
The victims include Egbede Jarigbe, younger brother of a member of the House of Representatives, an aluminium dealer at Eight Miles, Justin Ekere, and a paint dealer, Eze Anayo, who were abducted at various points.
While Egbede, brother of Hon Jarigbe Agom, representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency regained freedom yesterday, the whereabouts of Justine and Eze remain unknown.
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While Justine and Eze were picked up between the first and second week of May at their shops, Egbede was abducted along Ekong Ita Street on May 23 about 11pm by armed men.
It was learnt that the family of Egbede had put on pressure on the security operatives, leading to his quick release. He is said to have re-united with his family.
However, Leakblast learnt that another victim, Chief Jude Ononenyi Odinka, 71, an electrical merchant abducted on April 24 at about 8pm at his shop on Target Street is still with his abductors. According to family sources, the abductors of Odinka have called only three times without mentioning any ransom, thereby putting them into utter confusion.
The source said when the kidnappers called three weeks ago and they insisted on speaking with Odinka, at least to prove he was still alive, his abductors switched off the phone and have never called again.
Sources close to Igbo community said Igbo leaders are worried about the safety of the Imo State born businessman, who they disclosed is asthmatic and has some other health challenges.
Expressing worry over the fate of Odinka, the Chairman of Orsu Welfare Association and Igbo Youth President, Cross River State, Remi Agwuzie, said they have been praying for the release of their brother, who was kidnapped five week ago.
Agwuzie said: “We are pleading with the people to release our father and brother. We have not heard anything again from the abductors neither have we heard his voice on phone. We have reported to all relevant security agencies and no positive response yet. It is very agonising.”
Speaking with reporters, the Special Assistant to Governor Ben Ayade on Security Southern Senatorial district, Mr Ani Essien, confirmed the release of Egbde Jarigbe yesterday.
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Essien said they were trying their best to see how the issue of kidnapping could be overcome in the state, adding that security should be everybody’s business for now.
In April, about four other persons were kidnapped and later released after payment of ransom running into millions of naira.
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