Nigerians Kids Freed By Abductors

Hafiz-Ringim,-Police-IG

Hafiz Ringim, Police IG.

Hafiz-Ringim, Police IG.

The 15 school kids abducted in Aba, the commercial town of Nigeria’s Abia State have been freed.

Assistant Police Superintendent, Jeff Ogbonna confirmed the release of the children by their abductors. Ogbonna, who is also the spokesman of the police command in the state, said the parents of the children have also reported at the command to collect them.

The children were kidnapped Monday on their way to school. All are pupils of  Abayi International School in Isi-ala Ngwa Local  Government Area of Abia State. The kidnapping ignited international outrage and prompted the deployment of soldiers to the beleaguered town. Governor Theodore Orji added to the sense of urgency when he gave the abductors an ultimatum.

Traders have also called for a state of emergency to be declared following the terror  being unleashed on the residents by armed robbers and kidnappers.

The once bubbling commercial nerve centre is being deserted as residents are fleeing the  city in droves.

The traders declared a boycott of their shops to protest the increasing state of insecurity  in the wake of the kidnap of 15 school children on Monday and closure of  banks because  of incessant raids by armed robbers. Aba has been  under siege by criminal gangs for  months now. Armed robbery attacks and incessant raping of under-aged and the aged are now  the order of the day.

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All banks were  closed during the week following the killing of an Engineer from South-West  working in  Ogbo Hill area of the besieged city on Monday 27 September.

Bank workers in the city dominated by people from the South West have vowed to stay away  from work and asked their kinsmen to leave Aba before 4 October. They will not return, they vowed,  unless government brings the situation to normal.

A survey across the city showed that Aba Welfare Organization of Market Association,  AWOMA, comprising 75 trading unions doing business in the streets of Aba, started one  week strike on  Monday 27 September to protest the increasing insecurity in the city.

“After 4 October, if the situation does not improve, the strike will continue. We want  the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Aba. Everybody is dying,’’  declared a trader who pleaded anonymity.

Investigations revealed that the criminal gangs have taken over all the entry points  into the city. The flash points include-Asa\Umunka, Obeyi junction along Port Harcourt  Expressway. Another gang is at Ogbo Hill leading to Akwa Ibom, Isiala Ngwa-Umuahia road  and Ariaria \Tonimas Junction. Their modus operandi include striking in military, police  or Bakassi Boys uniforms or in mufti.

The situation has gone so bad that each street has its own kidnappers’ gang and notices  are served house to house with a special amount each landlord must pay, depending on how  big his house or compound is.

The rates range from N500, 000, N1m, N2m, N3m, N4m and N5m and above. Virtually all the  landlords in the city have been forced to flee to their villages.