Villagers in Ovumte, Ayaragu and Ekembe in Ishiagu community of Ebonyi, on Friday, took to the streets to protest against the rising incidence of abduction of children in their communities.
The protesters, in their hundreds, mostly aged women and youths, took to the roads chanting war songs and calling on the police and other security agencies to unmask those behind the dastardly act.
The peaceful protesters later marched to the Ivo Divisional Police Headquarters, where they gave the police a seven-day ultimatum to unmask the perpetrators.
They said: “Our villages are under siege. Abductors have taken over our villages and we live in fear of the unknown. We are giving the police one week to uncover those behind the act.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi State command, Sylvester Igbo, confirmed the incident and said that one suspect had been arrested while investigation was ongoing to unmask the remaining abductors.
The aggrieved villagers also visited the house of the president of the Ishiagu Community Development Union, ICDU, Stanly Anyim, and solicited the intervention of the union in tackling the problem.
“We are here to appeal to you to use your good office to stop the spate of child abductions in our villages. Our children are no longer safe in our homes and this crime against them must stop,” they said.
A gang of abductors on Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 unleashed terror on the three villages and abducted seven children, aged between three and five years old.
Kidnapping has become a common crime in eastern Nigeria as criminals use it to extort money from people. But the Ebonyi incident introduced a new dimension to the ugly phenomenon. The fate of the abducted children and the reason for their capture is still unknown.