Kidnapping in the South East has become a big business, with the kidnappers making about N750m monthly or N9 billion annually, estimates the Campaign for Democracy, a civil society organization.
After a lull, kidnapping had resumed in full swing, making the region unsafe for industrialists and businessmen. The rights group urged the governors to intervene.
According to the South East Chairman of CD in a statement:
“An average of five persons are kidnapped per month in each state of the zone and they pay between N30 million and N20 million each.
“This amounts to about N150 million per month from wealthy individuals in a state, thus, totalling N750 million per month from the five states.
“There has been this massive exodus of industrialists, businessmen and women from the zone due to activities of kidnappers,’’ it said.
The statement went on to identify the cities of Onitsha, Aba, Awka, Enugu, Abakiliki, Owerri and Umuahia as the cities with the highest incidences of kidnapping.
“These are cities with the highest concentration of wealthy people and businessmen. This is making businesses to crumble as the wealthy cannot move around for fear of being kidnapped,” it said.
The statement called upon the governors to help stop the exodus of wealthy people from the zone, which if it continues unabated, it could cause the collapse of the economy of the zone.
The statement also called upon mobile phone service companies to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies to track kidnappers since the kidnappers use their mobile phone services to communicate.
“Efforts should be made to energise the Southeast Economic Summit to revive the moribund industries in the zone; taking a cue from the South-South.
“The revival of industries has become paramount so that workplaces would be created to contain youths that would likely join these bad eggs perpetrating these heinous crime,” the CD said.