Kidnappers abduct editor’s father, demand N30m

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Kidnappers in Abia State have abducted Etuk-Udo Sampson, the father of Akanimo Sampson, Editor (Niger Delta) of Watchdog Reporters. Mr Sampson was abducted with three others on Saturday on their way back to Eket, Akwa Ibom State from a wedding ceremony.

The kidnapped elderly man, who is also a royal father in Atai Ndon, Afaha-Eket, in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, was at Ikeduru in Imo State, for the wedding ceremony of his nephew, Mr Akanimo N. Sampson Etukudo, where he served as the groom's father of the day. Some five other relatives who accompanied him to the wedding received serious gunshot wounds during the abduction.

An eye-witness account said Mr Sampson was abducted at Onicha Ngwa, near the Nigerian Christian Hospital, after sporadic gun shots by the bandits which lasted for some 10 minutes.

The abducted citizens have been denied food since Sunday, while their abductors are pressing for a ransom of N30 million.

Already, the Nigeria Police, Rivers State command, has made necessary contacts with the Abia State command, to ensure that the captives regain their freedom.

Police Commissioner, Suleman Abba, said on Tuesday that his command has brought the incident to the knowledge of the Abia State high command.

Mr Daniel Abia, spokesperson for the Journalists for Niger Delta (JODEL), a media group concerned with the affairs of the oil and gas region, said Abia State was becoming increasingly unsafe for Akwa Ibom and Rivers States citizens. The group is, therefore, calling on the federal government to do something about that axis of terror, since the authorities in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, appear to be helpless.

From Eket, where Mr Sampson hails, concerned citizens have called on the state government to ensure the safety of Akwa Ibom citizens who travel through Abia State.

Ensure safe passage
Spokesperson for the Concerned Eket People, Maurice Edohoeket, claimed that if the situation was not curbed, “Akwa Ibom people could be forced to embark on reprisal attacks. There are some prominent Abia people who live and do business in Akwa Ibom.”

Family sources say the health of Mr Akpabio, who recently underwent surgery, is at risk.

Before the Nigerian civil war, Mr Sampson was a prominent figure in the automobile industry in Aba, the commercial town of Abia and, before retiring to become head of his community, he was the sales manager of Auto Engineering Sales and Service Ltd, in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State.