Traders union in Bayelsa State have decried the upsurge in targeted kidnapping of Igbo businessmen in the state in the past few months, saying the situation has forced several traders to leave the state for fear of their safety and businesses folding up.
The Traders Union also called on the state government and security agencies to take up measures to ensure that the security challenge in the state is addressed to guarantee the safety of Igbo traders and sustain the economy of the state.
Speaking with Daily Trust on Wednesday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, the Chairman of Phone village, Prince Williams Eze and the spokesman for Igbo Traders Association, Mr Daniel Onyegesi, described the security situation as disturbing because it has hampered the economy of the state.
According to them, between late 2021 to date, over 10 prominent Igbo businessmen in the state have been kidnapped and their business capital collected as ransom to guarantee their safe release.
Onyegesi said, “What is happening is bad, as we are talking, most of our prominent business people are leaving Bayelsa because of reoccurrence incident of kidnapping, that is why we call on the government to act now to contain the menace of kidnapping because if they don’t do something about it, it will affect the economy of the state. All the traders are now living in fear because nobody knows what will happen to him/her in the next hour.
“Between late 2021 to date, several Igbo traders have been kidnapped and the money used for their businesses collected as ransom, we the market leaders are not comfortable with it because it seems the kidnappers are now targeting from shop to shop.”
The Chief Security Officer of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Bayelsa State, Comrade Patrick Ugwu, said that the leaders of the group have been engaging with the security agencies in the state to put an end to the disturbing issue of kidnapping, urging the government to step up their efforts in addressing the incident.
According to him, several traders who have been kidnapped will run out of their business capital after paying huge ransom to free themselves, lamenting that most of the money used for business are loans.
Special Assistant to Governor Douye Diri on Special Duties and leader of the Unified Non-Indigenes Association in Bayelsa State, Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, said the state government is taking the right approach to ensure that the menace of kidnapping is tackled head-on.
He commended the efforts of Governor Diri to ensure that the state is safe for businesses to thrive.
The police spokesman in Bayelsa State, SP Asinim Butswat, said that command is doing its best to ensure that every resident of the state is safe.