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Enugu-Nsukka Road: Ohanaeze, HURIWA condemn abduction of UNN students, others

By Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos) and Ernest Nzor (Abuja)
28 October 2022   |   4:04 am
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday expressed outrage over what it called near total breakdown of security along the Enugu-Ugwuogo Nike-Nsukka Road.

University of Nigeria Nsukka. Photo: JUJUFILMS

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday expressed outrage over what it called near total breakdown of security along the Enugu-Ugwuogo Nike-Nsukka Road.

The National President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, in a statement, said it was disheartening that despite the heavy presence of security operatives on the road, including the military and the police, the hoodlums could carry out their rampaging activities unchallenged.

On Sunday, kidnappers suspected to be Fulani herdsmen had blocked the road abducting many commuters in the process. Some of the victims are said to be returning students of the University of Nigeria (Nsukka), UNN.

Four days later, the criminals are said to be having a smooth operation. Similar   operations have been carried out within the same axis consistently for over a month.

Reacting, Okwu said the development was unacceptable, urging the security agencies to look inwards.

He said: “We are saddened that the all important Enugu-Ugwuogo Nike-Nsukka Road has now become impassable because of the activities of rampaging Fulani herdsmen.

“No day passes by without sad stories from commuters and their loved ones. Just this Sunday, some travellers including, returning students of University of Nigeria, Nsukka were abducted by the gunmen.

“As we speak, not one of them has been released or rescued by security operatives. The kidnappers are demanding millions of naira.

“Today again, Thursday, information reaching us indicates that the armed men are back on the same road, and have succeeded in taking hostage many travellers.

“This calls to question the role of the various security checkpoints mounted on that road, including the Army and the Police. Feelers are alleging that there is internal collaboration between some of them and the hoodlums.

“We learnt that they operate from Ekwegbe Agu forest. Security agencies should move in there and smoke them out. This is the only way for the security agencies to redeem their image and earn the trust of the people.”

SIMILARLY, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), which condemned the reported abductions appealed to the General Officer Commanding 82 division to direct his operatives to arrest the kidnappers and rescue the victims immediately.

According to the group, in a statement; “Despite increased kidnappings and other crimes in the South East, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of Nigerian Army, Enugu, Major General Umar Musa, a few days back said that the insecurity situation in the region is not as bad as being portrayed by the media.

“This is a pure case of Igbo phobia taken too far to conclude that a certain ethnicity are the criminals tormenting their own people when there have been over 100 cases of terror-related kidnappings attributed to Fulani speaking terrorists by victims who managed to survive their ordeals in the hands of these dare-devil kidnappers in the many forests of Southeast of Nigeria, including the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria who had to cough out N100 million cash to the Fulani terrorists before they freed him in a forest near Okigwe in Imo State.”

“It is also sad that the entire security architecture in Enugu has failed, thereby turning  the road where this incident took place to a flashpoint for kidnapping and all sorts of criminalities and this road is now inhabited by Fulani terrorists, whilst the soldiers do nothing to dislodge them.

“In September 2022, the kidnappers blocked the said road around the Ekwegbe axis and abducted an unspecified number of road users with police claiming that two of the victims were later rescued,” the group added.