Thursday, June 13, 2019 8:00 pm
….Andoni Monarchs Beg Wike For Time
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
As the 72 hours ultimatum Governor Nyesom Wike issued to Andoni Chiefs in Rivers State to secure the release of the three abducted foreigners expired yesterday, June 12, panic has gripped the Andoni Chiefs and Elders.
The expatriates who are construction workers of a company working on Andoni-Opobo Unity road were abducted while working on the Andoni stretch of the road being executed by the Rivers State Government about four days ago.
However, the Chairman of Andoni Area Traditional Rulers Council, Dr. Aaron .M. Ikuru (Ikwut vii) Okaan Ama of Ikuru Town has appealed to Governor Wike to temper justice with mercy and extend the ultimatum given to the traditional rulers to rescue the kidnapped expatriates.
The monarch, who made this appeal during a press briefing in Port Harcourt said they are working tirelessly to ensure the safe release of the expatriates.
King Dr. Ikuru further appealed to government to pardon the traditional rulers as they have not relented in trying to ensure the safe release of the expatriates, while believing God that they would return in a short time.
He also noted that the people of Andoni Local Government Areas had strongly condemned, as well as called for the release of the kidnapped Lebanese expatriates..
King Dr .Ikuru added that the people of Andoni are worried and concerned especially in view of the economic value of the Unity road to Andoni.
“The kidnapping is pathetic and has aggrieved us. We the people of Andoni strongly condemn this treacherous act entirely, as it cannot be tolerated by the rulers of the LGA. Since the occurrence of this act, we the paramount rulers have not relented in our efforts to secure the release of the expatriates as well as bring the perpetrators of the evil act to book,” he said.
“We are also going round the communities to inform our people that any act of criminality forthwith should end in Andoni as it would not be acceptable and anyone involved in such act would be apprehended,” he said.
“We thank His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike the State Governor for everything he has been doing for the people of Andoni. We also want to let His Excellency know that the people of Andoni love him and will always support his administration”, he said.
Dr Ikuru also added that machineries has been put in place to ensure that such act will not reoccur in Andoni, adding that the state government should trust the paramount rulers as they will continue to do their best to ensure peace and tranquility in Andoni.
He also urged youths of the community to shun short-cut to success through armed robbery and kidnapping which has brought shame and disgrace to the people of Andoni.
He also called on all stakeholders of Andoni to come together at Obolo Hall at Ngo town on Saturday to discuss the issues affecting the community as well as proffer solutions.
Meanwhile, the Police in Rivers State has said they are close to rescuing three expatriates that were kidnapped in Andoni Local Government Area by unknown gunmen last Saturday; even as their whereabouts are still unknown.
The State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni said men of the command in partnership with other security operatives were combing bushes and creeks in Andoni to ensure that the foreigners were rescued unhurt.
Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), however, said that though reports had it that three expatriates were abducted, the command is aware of two; even as he said the hoodlums would be arrested and made to face the law.
The State Police image maker further said, “We have put in place necessary machinery that will engender the timely release. The Commissioner of Police has given matching orders to heads of tactical units to relocate to Andoni LGA to ensure that the victims are released in record time.
“We are working with the communities, with the local fishermen and they are showing genuine commitments towards ensuring that the victims are rescued. Our men are combing bushes and creeks in search of them. We will also ensure that those behind this dastardly act are apprehended and made to face the law.
“I assure you that we are closing in on them. With the clues we have, soon they will be rescued,” Omoni, the State Police image maker assured.
The expatriates working on the Unity Road project were abducted by yet-to-be identified gunmen who came in a speed boat from the Andoni section and whisked them off to an unknown destination.