Twenty-seven traders from various markets in Kano State, northwestern Nigeria, have been kidnapped by gunmen in Kogi State.
The traders who were on their way to Aba town in Abia State, Southeast to buy textile materials were reportedly abducted on Sunday in Okene town of Kogi State, northcentral Nigeria.
Kano State has the largest market for textile in Nigeria and is the hub of commercial activities in northern Nigeria.
Traders from the state have to pass through Kogi State to buy some textile materials from southern parts of the country.
The surge in criminality and the rising cases of kidnapping for ransom have affected businesses in the state due to the fear of being kidnapped by terrorists who are notorious for ambushing travelers along the Kogi-Abuja expressway.
According to Lawan Garba, a trader in the Kantin Kwari market in Kano, the abductors have initially demanded a ransom fee of N45 million for each of the victims.
After negotiations, they agreed to release all the victims for N27 million; at one million for each, Garba said.
“They initially called the family of one of the kidnapped traders and demanded N45 million. But, now we have gathered that N27 million was agreed to be paid for all of them. That means N1 million for each one of them.”
“As I speak to you now, a sombre atmosphere has covered the market. Everybody is worried about the incident. I would have been among the kidnapped traders because the trip was initially arranged with me. I was not able to join them because my money is incomplete,” he told Daily Nigerian.
Confirming the incidence, Mansur Haruna, the market spokesperson, said the 27 traders were from Kantin Kwari, Sabon Gari and Kofar Wambai.
He appealed to the Kano State government to intervene for the safe return of the traders.
“It is sad that most of them are small scale traders as some of them don’t even have more than N400,000 capital.
“Like those ones where do you expect them to be able to raise the demanded ransom?” he lamented.