RESIDENTS of Umunze, headquarters of Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, have appealed to Governor Willie Obiano and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to rescue them from the activities of armed robbers, kidnappers and other violent criminals, who have been operating in the area for over seven years.
According to the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Promise Eze, and members of Umunze Stakeholders for Peace And Development (USPAD), a body of both indigenes and non-indigenes resident in Umunze, the community started experiencing cases of armed robbery and kidnapping around 2007.
Igwe Eze said his three-year-old daughter was kidnapped seven years ago and was held for about 15 days until a huge ransom was paid to her abductors.
Since the incident, Igwe Eze said, the town has not known peace.
In a statement, USPAD, however, said: “The town had been very peaceful and calm until sometime around 2007/2008 when it started recording violent crimes, kidnapping and armed robbery attacks. The three commercial banks in the town came under frequent attacks, as the armed robbers operated both in the daytime and at night unchallenged. Residents, indigenes, workers and students in Umunze started sleeping with only one eye closed, as night visits by armed robbers were almost certain in one location or the other every night.”
Urging Obiano to urgently extend his campaign against criminals to the area, the group said: “The current development can only be described as a reign of terror, fear and uncertainty that has enveloped Umunze community, the headquarters of Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, where armed robberies, killings and incessant kidnapping have been the order of the day for some years now, the presence of vigilance services, the police and the military in the area notwithstanding. We are desperately crying out and compelled to seek the assistance of our governor, Willie Obiano, to extend his anti-crime war against kidnappers to the Umunze.”
The group added that the insecurity in the area is worsening by the day.
“The already tense state deteriorated and tension heightened recently when a middle-aged trader, identified as Anayo, who was dealing in engine oil and spare parts near Umunze Post Office at Afor Udo, was murdered in broad daylight by suspected kidnappers, who went ahead to kidnap two indigenes of the town identified as Michael Okoli, also known as American Serge and Madukaejiaka Ezekiel Iwe.”
It added: “We call on the governor, Willie Obiano and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to come to our aid to curb the menace of armed robbery, kidnapping and killing in Umunze.
“Today, what we see in Umunze is a reign of terror and threat to peace and development of the town. The state of insecurity in Umunze could be likened to what is happening in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, as most indigenes of the town have stopped visiting home, while many people who have work or business interests in Umunze prefer to live outside the town. How can the town develop in this state of siege?
“Even the launch of the vigilance group in the town and the deployment of both military and police have not checked the threat, as there continues to be frequent incidents of armed robbery, killing and kidnapping in the town. A young man identified as Peter Egbelegbe, trader at Nkwo Umunze Market, was among those killed a few years back; the list of those kidnapped and later released is unending.”