By Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
The Obolo Youth Coalition (OYC), a non-political pressure group has condemned the abduction of a traditional ruler, King Aaron Ikuru, the paramount ruler of Ikuru Town in Andoni local government area of Rivers state and a University lecturer, Dr. Jones Ayuwo.
Mr Mkpon Ijonama, the President of the group made the condemnation in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the paramount ruler was abducted at his Palace in Ikuru Town, while the University don, Dr. Jones Ayuwo was abducted along Nwiyakara road on the Ogoni/Opobo/Andoni axis of the state.
He called for unconditional release of the two victims by their abductors.
“The spate of insecurity in Andoni area is alarming, I’m very sad today, and I condemn the barbaric act of kidnapping perpetrated by unknown criminals who on Sunday Feb. 21 stormed Ikuru town, a community in Andoni local government area of Rivers and kidnapped the paramount ruler at his country home.
Ijonama explained the monarch is the Chairman, Andoni Area Traditional Rulers Council and Pro Chancellor/ Chairman Governing Council of one of the state owned Universities, the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
“Dr. Jones Ayuwo who was also abducted on same day (Sunday) is an indigene of Ataba town, a community also in Andoni area Council of the State.
The youth leader said “Ayuwo was said to have been intercepted and abducted on his return from Awut-Obolo, a community in Andoni where his team went for a voluntary mission bothering on language translation of the Holy Bible.
“He is a University of Port Harcourt lecturer in the Department of Linguistics,” Ijonama said.
The youth leader described the abduction of the traditional ruler as an abomination: ”We haven’t witnessed a situation where a traditional ruler was kidnapped in his domain. This is a clear reason why we’ve always raised alarm over crime rate and particularly insecurity in Andoni area of the State.”
He regretted that several appeals to stakeholders in the area and the state to desist from politicizing security issues have not yielded positive results
“The news of King Aaron’s abduction is quiet shocking that’s why I’m appealing to the government, security agencies and relevant bodies to step up their responsibilities of safeguarding the citizens and also ensure a speedy release of the victims.
“If a king could be abducted, then the entire area is largely unsafe and if we fail to inform the government of our plight how then, will the menace be curbed,” he asked.
Ijonama also noted that prior to this time; some parts of the area had suffered so many attacks in the hands of sea pirates who basically operate from the creeks.
He noted that while the earlier victims of such attacks were majorly from the poor households, especially woman who formed a greater number of fish traders in the area, the kidnappers have now shifted their targets to prominent sons and daughters of the area who are very often kidnapped each time they visit their communities.
“Now that the security structure in Andoni has become so porous to the extent of abducting a paramount ruler from his domain, it’s indeed necessary to beef up security in Andoni and the entire state,” he added.
The youth leader therefore, urged elites, politicians and concerned individuals in the area to strive towards restoring a lasting peace to the area.