The traditional ruler of Ifakala autonomous community in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, Eze Michael Ekeruo has been abducted by kidnappers again. Ekeruo who was the Chairman of traditional rulers in Mbaitoli, was kidnapped at about 1pm yesterday immediately after a church service at St. Joseph ’s Catholic Church, Ifakala.
Daily Sun learnt that the traditional ruler was going home when the kidnappers who drove into a tinted SUV, intercepted him at the church gate and shot sporadically into the air. The shoots threw the worshippers who were still in the church premises into great fear, as they ran for safety. Daily Sun investigation revealed that while members were scampering for safety, the kidnappers forced the traditional ruler out of his car, put him in their vehicle and drove towards Ifakala-Umunoha -Ukwuorji road.
His wife who was with him at the church cried for help, as she did not know what would be the end of the incident. “Help! They have taken my husband away. Where did they take him to? Please help me get my husband back. I am finished.”
An eyewitness who spoke on the incident expressed shock on the incident and wondered why kidnappers kept on operating at the Catholic churches in the locality. “This issue of kidnap has become so rampant in Mbaitoli. They kidnapped the traditional ruler of Awo Mbieri community, Eze Oliver Nwaozuzu in a Catholic Church premises sometime ago.
The Chairman, Council of traditional rulers in the state and the traditional ruler of Obi Orodo, Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri was kidnapped and released. They also butchered a traditional ruler in Ogwa. This same Eze Ekeruo was kidnapped sometime ago in front of his gate, while trying to drive into his house at Umudimofor village in Umuchinewe Umuagwuochie and was released after paying the agreed ransom. Now, he has been kidnapped again.
Chairman of Ifakala Town Union, Lagos Branch, Mr Steve Chucks Dike condemned the incident and berated the poor security situation in the state. Dike was not happy that the issue of insecurity has made some personalities in Mbaitoli not to return home and appealed for security beef up in the area. “In fact what happened today is very surprising and uncalled for. We do not know why this continued to happen in our area without workable solution. Today, many of our people refused to come home due to kidnap incidents.
We believe that the problem of insecurity in Imo has gone beyond what the state government can handle since the case continued unchecked. Therefore, we call on the Federal Government to intervene like the way they did in Abia State .”
Meanwhile, there are confusion and restlessness in the entire Ifakala Community and as at time of filing in this report, members of the community were holding series of meetings on how to get their ruler back.
Member representing Mbaito Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Victor Ndunagum, who hails from the community said the incident has been reported to the State Police Command, while the Parish priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ifakala, Rev Father Cas mir Chimeziri confirmed the incident