…stressing that they have become ‘endangered specie’ in the State.
The alarm is sequel to alleged targeted kidnappings and murder of Igbos in the state by native gangs, suspected herdsmen and bandits.
A businessman and prominent member of the Igbo community in Gboko, Mr. Okafor Nnolim, who raised the alarm while speaking with journalists in Enugu yesterday, stated that there is no week an Igbo person was not kidnapped or murdered in Benue State even as they were subjected to paying millions of naira in ransoms.
“We can no longer do our businesses freely for fear of being kidnapped or murdered. Since January this year, we have had over 50 Igbos kidnapped and some murdered in cold blood by bandits and suspected herdsmen,” he said.
Nnolim’s fears and concerns was collaborated by another Igbo resident in the state, one Chief Ndukaku, a fabrics merchant, who described the Igbo as endangered species in the north-central state of Benue.
Chief Ndukaku, a trader at the Gboko Central Market lamented the deteriorating state of insecurity in the State noting that all efforts to get the security agencies and state government to address the matter have fallen on deaf ears.
“Igbos in Benue state are being systematically decimated and our businesses are gradually being ruined by these kidnappers and bandits,” he cried out.
Similarly, Mr. Ikem Ani also lamented that Igbos in Benue have been subjected to untold hardship and their lives are no longer guaranteed.
According to him, “there is virtually no week that an Igbo person is not kidnapped. We have tried to engage the State Police Command to no avail. We are therefore crying out for the world to know the fate of Ndigbo in Benue State.
“We are now putting Ohanaeze Ndigbo on notice that we have become endangered in Benue State because what is happening to Igbos in Benue State is worse than what is happening to Ndigbo in the far north,” he said.
It will be recalled that the spate of kidnaps and killings of persons of Igbo extraction in Benue state in recent time had risen, prompting calls by a group, Igbo Youths Movements (IYM), for serious intervention by the government and law enforcement agencies.
In a recent press statement, the group expressed dismay with the way reports concerning security of Ndigbo in Benue State had been handled with “levity and non-challance” by the security agencies in the state; warning that Igbos in Benue state may be forced into aggressive defence of their lives and property. Ends