Igbo traders and businessmen have concluded plans to close shops for two days in protest against the spate of kidnapping in Cross River State.
The traders and businessmen under the aegis of Igbo Unity Forum (IUF) said they are worried at the incessant kidnapping and extortion of ransom running into millions of naira from top Igbo businessmen and women by gunmen in the last one year.
Daily Sun gathered that over 35 Igbo, mostly traders dealing in electrical, building materials, spare parts, bakery and cosmetics have been kidnapped and hundreds of millions paid as ransom to secure their freedom.
Briefing newsmen on the development, Coordinator of Igbo Unity Forum, Mazi Okechukwu Ebubedike said the decision to shut down businesses for at least two days in Calabar metropolis was reached after an emergency meeting with major stakeholders and town unions of Igbo extraction to protest the ugly trend.
Ebubedike, who doubles as chairman of Igbo professionals in Cross River State, disclosed that over 35 prominent sons and their wives have been abducted so far in the state in the last one year with hundreds of millions paid as ransom.
According to him, most of the victims pay between N5 million and N30 million as ransom even when injuries are inflicted on them.
“We have been made victims of kidnapping in the state in the last one year and made to pay dearly as ransom to these hoodlums in the last couple of months. Unfortunately, nobody cares about our plight at this excruciating circumstance.
“I can tell you that Igbo traders and businessmen who are victims of these hoodlums have been paying hundreds of millions as ransom to secure their freedom.
“And, in protest against this ugly trend, we are embarking on protest by closing our shops and other business outlets for two days.
“We have, therefore, directed all shops owned by Igbo should be closed on a day to be announced to attract attention and to see how this security lapse can be tackled.
“We will enforce the closure to press home our demand to stop the kidnapping.
“We have been made targets of kidnappers. We are now preys in the hands of criminals and everybody seems not to bother because it is Igbo.
“But, we will resist it because we are here to do business and assist in developing the state sincerely.
So, we can no longer fold our hands and watch our people being used as money-minting machine by kidnappers,” he stated. (Daily Sun)