Many well-to-do people from different parts of Imo State are literally running away following an upsurge in kidnapping of prominent indigenes in the 27 local councils in the past few weeks.
Investigations by The Guardian at the weekend in Owerri and other parts of the state revealed that many affluent families had gone into hiding or relocated to either Lagos or Abuja.
A similar situation prevailed in Aba, Abia State, a few months ago, until the abductions ended.
Meanwhile, the abductors seem to be tightening their grip on the state with no respite in sight.
Those who have been kidnapped include a monarch, Eze Oliver Nwaozuzu and his wife, who were abducted from inside St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Awo Mbieri.
Others are Treasurer of Onuimo Local Council and Principal Alvana Primary School, Owerri, Ben Iheanacho, former Medical Director, Monica Hospital, Amaraku, Isiala Mbano Local Council, Dr. Canice Omeziri, who was killed by his abductors in captivity; Director of Accounts in the Imo State House of Assembly, Mr. G. C. Ihemebiri, another traditional ruler, Eze Stanley Akuneto of Umuezu Obazu Ogwa, former Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly, Godfrey Dikeocha, who spent about two months in captivity during which he was blind-folded, a former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) chieftain, Steve Ibe, and proprietor of a pharmaceutical shop in Owerri, Charles Uwaezuoke, among others.
Police authorities told The Guardian that the rising cases of abduction posed serious threat in the state.
Two traditional rulers in the state had been killed by their abductors in the state in the last two years.
Members of the House of Assembly and top government officials have lamented the unfortunate trend in a once-peaceful state, while the Commissioner of Police, Chris Dega, has stressed that his men were poised to check the trend.
The police boss, had however, regretted that the kidnappers were using sophisticated technologies that made them more difficult to track down.