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Residents of Uturu in Abia State have pleaded with the state government to come to their aid as herdsmen marauding as kidnappers have taken over the Okigwe – Uturu Road which is a few metres away from Abia State University, Uturu.
Recently, about seven students of the tertiary institution were kidnapped after a shuttle bus they boarded was attacked by the suspected Fulani herdsmen.
While the shuttle bus driver was killed, the kidnappers took the students into the bush.
However, SaharaReporters learnt that they had been released after paying a ransom of N4million.
A resident of the area and student of the institution told SaharaReporters that the students were kidnapped on Sunday and their abductors established contact with family members demanding a ransom of N10million after which they agreed to accept N4million.
He said the students were all released after the family and students kept to their side of the bargain.
“It’s true, seven students were kidnapped on Sunday, they were there till yesterday, they first requested a ransom of N10 million, then they reduced it to N7 million, then later reduced it to N4 million.
”We paid N3.5million initially, then yesterday morning, the balance of N500,000 was paid and the students were all released around 3pm on Wednesday.
”The families of the affected students and some of the students here contributed the money to facilitate the release of the students.”
Also, a Facebook user, Lizzy Ikechukwu Ukonu, lamented how her brother was kidnapped but in an updated post on Wednesday noted that her brother had now returned home safely.
Another resident who pleaded anonymity told SaharaReporters that kidnappers of Fulani extraction had turned the highway to their den, attacking at any time of the day and picking up commuters after which ransom would be demanded.
He explained that the activity had been on since 2021, yet there was no security intervention to curb the menace.
He said, “So, the kidnap incident on that route has been on since last year. I know about two persons from Michael Okpara University who were kidnapped while travelling on that road. One was a lecturer and the other was a student.
”It is like the only road leading to the Abia State University. The worst part of it is that there are Police, and Army checkpoints along that road. Today, the people stormed the highway to protest the insecurity in that place.
”When they kidnap people, they will ask for ransom before they release them. The government should come to their aid and security agencies should do their jobs and guarantee the safety and security of human lives.”