By Chinenyeh Ozor
Tension has pervaded Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state, following the abduction of an Enugu state auditor over the weekend by Fulani herdsmen along Nsukka-Adani express road.
The abductors have demanded N5 million as ransom for his release. Vanguard gathered that the state auditor identified simply as Ogbobe Stephen who hailed from Ukpabi Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani LGA, had gone home in company of six others for a town hall meeting of the community, only to be kidnapped by herdsmen on his way back to Nsukka after the meeting.
Investigations revealed that the herdsmen around 4pm blocked the busy Nsukka- Adani road at Ukpabi junction, waiting for unsuspecting victims to abduct. Reports showed that the kidnappers flagged down the car conveying the six men, ordered the them to lie face down, tied three out the six hands and legs for about 45 minutes before untying two and then dragged the victims into the bush.
Vanguard gathered that the police and local vigilante group have been patrolling the road at intervals but the herdsmen defied the security network along the road to abduct unsuspecting victims without arrest nor molestation.
Mrs Ogbobe, wife of the victim told Vanguard that she was informed of the kidnap of her husband a night after the abduction by one of the people that travelled to the village with him, adding that on Sunday night, the kidnappers opened up discussions, demanding N5 million as ransom for his release while the entire family resigned to prayers as the cash could not be provided by the family and relations.
Mrs Ogbobe noted that while the family were fasting and praying, the kidnappers dropped to N1.5m on Monday but the ransom is still on the high side for the family of a state civil servant, adding that the family could not lodge the matter at neither Adani police station nor Area command Nsukka for fear of his being killed by the kidnappers. So far, a combined team of police men numbering over 70 have gone and combed the forest without any fruitful result.
Transition committee chairman, Uzo-Uwani LGA, Mr Cornell Onwubuya told Vanguard on phone that the council pays about 30 vigilante people to assist police beef up security along the road, yet the kidnappers strike at intervals.