Gunmen kidnap Bakassi monarch in Cross River
Palpable fear now grips residents of Bakassi community of Cross River State as one of its traditional rulers, Etubom Nyong Okon Effiom and one other person have allegedly been kidnapped by gunmen. This is barely one week after another prominent businessman and a clan head from the same Bakassi was kidnapped by gunmen and released after the family paid a ransom.
The kidnappers had initially demanded for N20 million. Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the incident took place about 12 noon yesterday when Effiom, an Etubom at Obong of Calabar Council, was said to be driving from Calabar to attend to family issues at Nsirim within Bakassi.
At Nsirim, Effiom was said to have pulled up in front of a house along the road to fix his car, a Toyota sport utility vehicle, that developed an electrical problem and suddenly armed men wearing masks emerged from behind and surrounded him. It was further learnt that the kidnappers, numbering five, who drove in a Volkswagen saloon Jetta car immediately opened fire to scare passersby away before whisking Effiom away to an unknown destination.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Ntufam Enyang Michael, told Daily Sun in an interview that the kidnap of Etubom Effiom was the second kidnap incident within Bakassi axis in the last one week, wondering what had become of Bakassi in recent time.
Michael said, “Etubom Effiom is the second Bakassi victim to be kidnapped within one week after another chief had been taken away by the same gang and some cash paid to secure his release and as I am talking with you, a police officer was wounded in that operation and he is in one of the private clinics receiving treatment.
“These gunmen, all masked just struck again and took away our chief at gunpoint and drove straight to Efut Esighi beach. With what is happening, nobody is free as our community has been turned into a den for criminals,” he said.
According to him, “Effiom’s mother-in-law just died and he came this morning to the village to supervise construction work going on at the compound in preparation for the burial coming up soon.”
He disclosed that the kidnap of Effiom would not go down well this time with the community as the youths and other vigilance groups were planning to re-group to fight the criminals back, adding that some ex-militants were operating from the beach they allegedly took Etubom to. As at the time of going to the press, family sources told Daily Sun that the kidnappers had not contacted them.
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Cross River State Police Command, Mr. John Umoh, said the command had got report of the incident and his men were on the trail of the criminals. Umoh said, “the incident is disturbing but the command is on top of the situation and very soon the criminals would be tracked down.”