By Sunday Ani
Residents of Orumba North Local Government Area in Anambra State are living in constant fear following heightened kidnapping and Killings by unknown gunmen.
Residents lament that this has greatly affected economic and educational activities in the area. Recall that Orumba North hosts the Federal Polytechnic, Oko.
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A source that prefers anonymity told the Daily Sun that Oko Polytechnic, in the last two weeks, has had two of its lecturers kidnapped by the unknown gunmen.
“Yesterday, a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Ignatius Onyejekwe, was kidnapped. Two weeks ago, another lecturer, Taiwo Ogunbiade and his friend, were also kidnapped and released after a ransom of an undisclosed amount was paid,” the source said.
Daily Sun gathered that Onyejekwe, who was kidnapped yesterday, has been released this morning, but another man, identified as Hon Okechukwu, who was also kidnapped yesterday still remains with the kidnappers.
There was also a report that a policeman was shot at Oko market square, Eke Oko, yesterday by the unknown gunmen. The development, according to the source, has stalled activities at the Oko Polytechnic as even the Governing Council meeting could not hold due to fear of being kidnapped by members.
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“You know there is a general policy by the Ministry of Education that the Governing Council cannot meet anywhere outside where the school is domiciled. So, in the case of Oko Polytechnic, members of the Governing Council have not been able to meet because they are afraid of going to Oko due to the high rate of kidnapping and general insecurity. No member wants to risk his life going to Oko for any meeting and that has grounded activities in the school,” the source said.
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According to Samuel Okeke, kidnapping is a major problem in Orumba North as the entire stretch of road along Oko, Ekwuluobia, Agulu Ezechukwu down to Umunze axis has been taken over by kidnappers; a development he described as very worrisome.
Daily Sun reliably gathered that even the Federal College of Education Umunze did not hold its last Council meeting in Umunze. “The meeting was held in Awka last week as members refused to go to Umunze for fear of being kidnapped. It is that bad.”
Okeke also told Daily Sun that the husband to the Provost of the Federal College of Education, Umunze was attacked last week by kidnappers. He said: “The kidnappers were trying to push the man and his driver into their car that was almost filled when they spotted a Toyota Venza and Hilux Jeep. They quickly abandoned the man and his driver and went for the occupants of the Toyota Venza and Hilux Jeep, whom they felt would pay higher and in the process, the man and his driver escaped to safety. So, you can see that the level of insecurity in the entire Orumba North is frightening. All the concerned authorities just have to rise to the occasion and do something very urgent to arrest the ugly trend.“
There is also an unconfirmed report that the unknown gunmen have a hideout somewhere in Agulu Ezechukwu, from where they patrol Oko, Ekwuluobia and Umunze axis.