Nnewi Boils Over Kidnapping

•Lawyers, Doctors, Traders May Ground City   – Tempers have reached boiling point in Nnewi, Anambra’s industrial hub, following a spate of kidnappings that hit the city in the last one month.  Residents alleged that over 30 people have been kidnapped in the last 10 days. In the last one week alone, a senior lawyer, a medical doctor and other people were kidnapped, prompting the National

Associations of Resident Doctors (NARD) and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to stage protests in Awka and Nnewi.

While the lawyers have began indefinite boycott of courts, the doctors are threatening strike. Likewise, traders are threatening to shut the town down if government fails to take immediate action to assure of safety of life and property in the city. 

In anger, stakeholders in Nnewi comprising traders, industrialists, transporters and even commercial motorcyclists on Friday converged at the residence of the chairman of Nzuko Ora Nnewi (Nnewi Town Union), Charles Onyeka, to complain bitterly about the development.   

Tochukwu Nwokedi, a trader, complained that containers that were hitherto discharged at Nnewi for traders to source their wares are now discharged at Lagos because their owners are afraid of being kidnapped on arrival at Nnewi.

“Our goods no longer land in Nnewi. Many people have deserted Nnewi. We are almost begging for food,” he lamented. 

Secretary of NBA, Nnewi branch, Murphy Okeke, at the meeting, narrated that to be at the venue, he changed vehicles three times to beat kidnappers.

“If there is no security of life and property, we are finished. Things have gone out of hand. Nnewi is facing collapse, and we are in tandem with any agreement reached here as far as security is concerned,” he said. “One of our members, B. Ezenwankwo, was kidnapped more than a week ago. Since then, he has not been seen nor has anybody heard from him.

“Members of NBA, Nnewi branch, are not going back to court except our colleague is released; that is the position. On daily basis, two or three people are kidnapped. Probably, this evening we will hear about the two that were kidnapped yesterday. This town has been dragged down completely by the issue of kidnapping.”

A similar view was expressed by a transporter, Mr. Dunu Egboka Fred, who said the spate of kidnapping in the town has crippled every sector of the economy.