Residents of several communities in Kogi State are now living in daily fear as their areas have become safe haven of bandits and kidnappers.
The crisis of kidnapping and banditry has worsened in the recent years which residents lamented have also affected business and economic activities.
One of the instances cited was the Thursday night killing of Major General Hassan Ahmed, former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army at Ahoko in the Koton Karfe Local Government Government Area of Kogi State by bandits.
The gunmen were said to have shot at the vehicle the deceased officer was travelling in on Thursday.
On July 14, gunmen abducted a traditional ruler, the Adogu of Eganyi in Ajaokuta LGA.
The traditional ruler was returning to his community from Okene, also in Kogi, when he was kidnapped.
Also the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kogi State chapter, called on the Yahaya Bello-led government and security agencies to map out strategies to curb the incessant attacks and abduction of their members across the state.
In a statement issued by the state chairman of PSN, Dr Lawal Muhammed, the professional body expressed worry that practitioners and businessmen in pharmaceuticals in the state have become soft targets for the kidnappers and armed robbers.
They threatened that pharmacists will withdraw their services if abduction of their members continues unchecked.
“Within the space of one week, we have recorded three cases of kidnapping in broad daylight and two people have lost their lives during these very ugly incidents in Okene, Kabba and Ajaokuta.
“We have also had instances of armed robbery attacks on pharmacists this year and the previous year within Lokoja, the state capital.
“We, therefore, appeal to relevant security agencies in Kogi state and other stakeholders to swing into action for the release of the victims, hale hearty and map out strategies to prevent future occurrence.
“Most of the monies invested in pharmaceuticals are loan from banks. We therefore urge the perpetrators and the general public not to see us as being rich. One of the implications of this heinous act is shortages in drug supply and withdrawal of services.
“We all need drugs, irrespective of our class, either to keep fit or to recover from an illness. It is an abomination to attack health facilities and personnel, even during war, so all hands must be on deck to put an end to this menace,” he said.
Also, a sociocultural development association of the Yoruba speaking part of Kogi State, Okun Development Association (ODA) has called for improved security in the area towards nipping the recent upsurge of kidnapping in Okun land.
The association, in a statement by its Secretary General, Chief Ben Ayo Abereoran, urged security agencies to rise up to their responsibility of protecting lives and property of the people.
The statement reads in part, “The Okun development Association is making a clarion call on all security apparatus in the country to come and save us from kidnapping, savagery, banditry and killings being carried out by dreaded, black hooded ISWAP.”
It further noted that “Okun nation has been under siege of these criminals since 8th of July 2021 when they attack a couple driving in their car along Okeagi-Imela (between Mopamuro and Yagba east LGA), shooting at their car and leave them for dead. A farmer who was trying to help was mercilessly beaten to stupor after several gun shots couldn’t penetrate his body.”
The statement reveals that “On Saturday 10th of 2021, unknown gunmen kidnapped four persons, a man and three women in Mopamuro LGA, as if that is not enough their gang kidnapped an easy going owner of Lifted Pharmacy on 13th 2021 in Kabba.Only God knows who is next.”