Kidnapping for ransom now thriving business in Kogi

Posted by Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja | 23 March 2019 | 692 times

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 There is palpable tension in KotonKarfe Local Government Area of Kogi State following incessant cases of kidnapping and armed robbery activities which residents say have crippled normal livelihood.

In Gegu-Beki, Iraki, Omoko, Akpogu, kpareke and Achara, our correspondent gathered that the development has gravely affected lives of the people.

Many residents say they are now afraid of going to their farms, fetching water from the river or going about their normal businesses for fear of being abducted.

It was further learnt that kidnapping which emerged in some parts of the area about three months ago has continued to increase by the days.

At Iraki, a community leader, Chief Idris Salihu, said the community had enjoyed peace and security until about three months ago when “strange activities” surfaced in the area.

He said the whole thing began when people believed to be kidnappers invaded the community at about 2am some months ago and began to shoot sporadically, causing panic among the people.

He said not quite long after that, a member of the community identified as Mallam Yunusa Zaga was kidnapped while returning home. According to him, Zaga was returning to the community in his vehicle when he was kidnapped and kept in captivity for about three days before he was released upon payment of ransom.

According to him, the target of the criminals is not just to rob but kidnap after which they would demand millions of naira as ransom.

He said the community does not have security presence and currently depends on the services of vigilante members.

Chief Salihu appealed to the federal and state governments to provide security to check the menace.

The Imam of Iraki Community Mosque, Idris Ibrahim, said: “Government should please provide security. We can no longer go to our farms. Our women cannot go and fetch water and firewood because of fear of being kidnapped”.

The head of the vigilante group in Iraki community, Zakari Hussain, said the menace of kidnapping and armed robbery had been a great challenge to his people for some time now.

He said the kidnappers would block the road to kidnap people after which they would demand ransoms which usually range from N2m to N5m.

At Omoko community, the wife and daughter of the chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the area, Alhaji Audu Omoko were kidnapped recently.

It was gathered that the kidnappers  released them unhurt after collecting some ransom from the family.

The Kogi State Police Command has in the meantime confirmed the arrest of some   suspects responsible for kidnappings in Kogi-KotonKarfe.

The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, who paraded the suspects recently, said they were arrested from their hideouts following an operation in the area.

He said the command had been inundated with series of complaints over kidnap for ransom cases in KotonKarfe in recent times.

According to him, a gang of kidnappers led by one Auta Gajere was arrested at Fulani Camp, Kpareke in Kogi-KotonKarfe by men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad following a tip-off.

Excerpted from a Daily Trust report



Source: News Express

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