Godwin AJM, Calabar
A few days after the Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade threatened to deal decisively with kidnappers in his state, the criminals appear to be daring him and have taken more people hostage.
Last week, a passenger bus was hijacked along the Calabar-Ikom road and nine passengers taken into captivity, but they were released within 24 hours.
The governor had, in a statement he personally signed, said the action of the kidnappers violated what he called the innocence of the state.
Then he added: “I appeal for calm, support and cooperation of our people as security men comb through every nook and cranny of the Uyanga forest. We are a peace – loving people, and as such will not allow criminality of any hue, to find a fertile ground anywhere in our state.
“We have made a request to the Federal Government, to draft more troops to the Uyanga forest as well as the deployment of a Tucano aircraft. Additionally, we have activated the homeland security outfits and have engaged local hunters to assist in private para-military capacity.”
But not long after that, two medical doctors were picked up along the same road. As at Monday, they were yet to be freed.
The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Cross River State chapter, is already at a loss on how the free their members, as they could not afford the N100 million ransom being demanded by the kidnappers.
Chairman of the association, Dr Felix Archibong, who also confirmed the incident, lamented that none of the kidnapped medical doctors would be able to afford the ransom figure.
“I can confirm that two of my members were among those who were kidnapped along Calabar-Ikom Highway, Ikomita axis. I am also aware that they have made calls to the families of the doctors and demanded N100 million.
The Cross River state Commissioner of Police, Sule Balarabe has however said the identity of the victims was yet unknown but he assured that the police were working hard to ensure the release of the victims.
“This is a very sad moment but the matter will be adequately dealt with, I can assure the public . I’m on ground with my men.
“We also have the cooperation of the locals; we will have positive result , I am on ground , with various units , we are hitting the nails on its head as I speak, we must make sure we secure the release of the victims unharmed,” the CP assured.