In separate attacks, armed men have kidnapped a monarch and a university lecturer in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, officials said on Monday.
Aron Ikuru, the traditional ruler of Ikuru town in the Andoni Local Government Area of the state, was reportedly abducted at his residence Sunday night.
According to Maurice Ikuru, the monarch’s spokesperson who confirmed his principal’s abduction to the media on Monday, the gunmen forced their way into the palace. They abducted the monarch at “about 8:30 or 9 p.m. on Sunday.”
He did not disclose whether any contact had been established ever since the incident happened.
In another development, a University of Port-Harcourt lecturer, later identified as Dr Jones Ayauwu of the Department of Linguistics and Communications, was waylaid and abducted by armed assailants who attacked his car while travelling to Port Harcourt, the state’s capital.
Sam Kpenu, the University’s Public Relations Officer, said Ayauwu was returning from his hometown when the incident happened.
“He was kidnapped by gunmen along Andoni -Ogoni axis road in Rivers State,” Kpenu said.
“Three occupants were in the car, but when the gunmen came, they forced the three occupants out of the vehicle then forcefully took Mr Ayauwo into their waiting vehicle.”
He said the university management had reached out to the victim’s family and the security agents for his release.
“We are seriously following up the situation. The management of the university is so concerned and caring under the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Okodudu, as he is doing everything possible to ensure the safe and timely release of the victim,” Kpenu said.
Confirming the abduction, Nnamdi Omni, police spokesperson in the state, said the police had launched a search for the kidnappers.
“Yes, I can confirm the two cases of kidnap. One, the kidnap of a traditional ruler in Ikuru, who was abducted from his home and taken to an unknown destination. We are still making efforts to get him out,” Omni said.
“The second one was at Kpie in Khana Local Government, where a lecturer was ambushed and taken away by unknown gunmen.”
“As we speak, we have mobilised our men to comb the bushes and creeks to ensure that both traditional ruler and the lecturer are released in record time. We are sparing no effort to ensure they are released as quickly as possible.”
The police spokesperson noted that the kidnappers had not established contacts with the victims’ families but assured that the police were on top of the game in rescuing the victims.
“For now, they have not established contact for now. We want to assure the people of Andoni that their two prominent sons will be released as soon as possible,” he said.
He advised residents to be vigilant and increase their security consciousness.
“When you see a suspicious person in a situation, do well to call the security agencies to arrest the situation for assistance.”
“We should know when to move about and when not to leave your house. Criminals can carry out their activities at any time of the day,” he said.