Following the spate of kidnappings which has turned a daily occurrence in Imo state, and with Traditional Rulers as the majority target, most of them have deserted their domains, taking refuge in undisclosed hide – outs for the fear of their lives.
Imo Trumpeta investigations show that nearly all the Royal fathers now live in fear, as no day passes in the state, without a kidnap incident involving a Traditional Ruler, and in some cases outright murder, even after ransoms have been paid to the hoodlums.
Recent kidnap incident involving Imo Royal Father in the state include that of Eze Mike Ekeruo of Ifakala who was taken away this week and has not been seen yet.
In fact, the current incident involving Eze Ekeruo is the second time he is having a brush with kidnappers having been kidnapped before and released, until they came for him again.
Eze Douglas of Umuna Orlu has also been kidnapped and released, including Eze Stanley Akaneto of Umueze in Abazu Autonomous Community.
Just last Saturday, gun men killed the Personal Assistant and driver to the Traditional Ruler of Azara Obiato Community in Mbaitoli LGA, Eze (Bar) Chinedu Osuebi.
The Traditional Ruler has been thrown into a trauma. The situation even got worse for him when the aged mother of the late driver, Sylvester Ekejiuba died on hearing about the demise of her son.
Speaking to Imo Trumpeta, Eze Osuebi said the burial of the dead are now his responsibility apart from losing his confidant.
A Traditional Ruler who spoke to Imo Trumpeta from an undisclosed hiding abode, said Imo Royal Fathers are confused about their predicament as they have suddenly turned beautiful brides to criminals.
“Traditional Rulers are not rich people, but we are custodians of custom and culture. So I don’t know why kidnappers are targeting us?” he asked.
He went on to say that they are obeying the Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who directed that they should reside in their domains, yet are killed or kidnapped daily.
He appealed to the Governor to provide adequate security for the Royal Fathers, if government wants them to continue to reside in their domains.
It would be recalled that before the present chairman of Imo Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Ohiri mounted his post, he saw hell in the hands of kidnappers who killed his brother in the process, and kept him in their hide – out for months.
Meanwhile, the police in the State has assured Imo people, including the Traditional Rulers, of their safety, pointing that the police has stormed the “Headquarters” of kidnappers in Imo State at a forest at Orogwe in Mbaitoli LGA stressing that kidnapping is now a thing of the past in the State, but just yesterday the kidnappers struck again, taking a woman who sales Beer palour at Mammy Market, Owerri.