By Christopher Okafor
Residents of Mgbakwu community in Awka North local government area of Anambra state have been thrown into fresh fears following a failed kidnap attempt on a three year old girl by yet to be apprehended suspected ritualists.
Orient Weekend gathered that the Anambra state Polytechnic host community had been on the edge since the three-year old girl identified simply as ‘Favour’ was whisked away from her house in the early hours of last Tuesday.
It was gathered that the girl, believed to be an orphan living with her step mother, woke up from sleep around 1:35am and headed to the veranda to urinate when she was abducted. The guardian who stood on the door-way watching the toddler peeing when the assailant emerged from hiding and whisked her away, heading in the direction of Isu-Aniocha reportedly raised alarm, waking sleeping neighbours who quickly raced after the fleeing abductor.
As the chasers were closing in on him and unable to run faster due to weight of the abducted girl, the hoodlum reportedly dumped the girl inside bush and escaped into the thick bush.
According to the woman who pleaded anonymity for security concern, the toddler acted as if she was hypnotized while asleep before the incident took place. “We were sleeping when suddenly woke up and started running towards the door as if hypnotized and I thought she was pressed and followed her out to urinate. But, as she was about to urinate, a man I could not recognize came and grab her and took her away.
“Without knowing what else to do, I began to shout on top of my voice and neighbours quickly came out and run after him. Thankfully, he threw the child into bush and escaped. What surprised me most was that when the girl was finally found at the bush, she was behaving somehow- did not cry or speak for a long time and it took some time before she could cry after she was returned home”, she recalled.
Orient Weekend earlier broke the news of how a middle aged man identified as Ifeanyi escaped being lynched by whiskers on January 10 after allegedly being caught stealing ladies pants at a student residential quarters at Mgbakwu.
The suspect who hails from Umuneke in Udi local government area of Enugu state confessed that he had already stolen over 58 women pants before luck ran out of him and he was caught red-handed by a woman during the early hours stealing operation.
He had earlier confessed that had been in the business of stealing ladies pants washed and spread by the owners at their respective homes and that he usually sold them to a man known as Emeka Ofor at the rate of N500. “I steal them (pants) from women hostels. I used to sell them to Emeka Ofor, who also hails from Umuneke Udi LGA at the rate of N500 (five hundred naira) per piece,” he confessed.
Checks by this paper reveal that fear of child kidnapping is fast spreading in the community following recent upsurge in crime in the area. It was gathered that most parents and guardian had warned school authorities and teachers to take extraordinary measures to ensure safety of school children in the area including making sure that only authorized persons are handed over pupils after schools.
Those who spoke to our reporter in confidence expressed their frustrations at the heightened criminal activities in the area. “The frequent reports of criminal activities in Mgbakwu in recent times is becoming unbearable for us and you could see that people hardly stay outside late in the night anymore because of fear of kidnappers or thieves”, a resident who identifies herself as Mrs Udoji said.
The president general of Mgbakwu community, Chief Harold Nweze Okafor however, blamed the upsurge in crime wave in on the area following recent disarming of vigilante group who had assisted police in combating crime in the area.
Okafor recalled how a certain woman was on her rest at night in the compound, when an unknown assailant came and beheaded her and made away with the decapitated head, leaving behind the body. “It was a continued and unusual struggling that attracted the attention of others who came and pursued wind, because no person was suspected. That is how the woman was wasted”, Okafor said.
The community leader stressed that the advent of vigilante was also instrumental in ridding Anambra state off kidnapping in the past before the recent controversial disarming of the local vigilantes.
According to him, the latest upsurge in crime wave has underscored the need for the re-equipment of the vigilante groups with arms to enable them assist the police in tackling crime and criminalities in the state. He told this paper, that even as the local vigilantes were disarmed, they have not relented in helping to burst crimes. He disclosed that “early Tuesday morning, the vigilante operatives at Mgbakwu caught a thief in the very act who burgled into the general hospital situate at Mgbakwu and hand the suspect to the Nigeria police.
“My earnest position is, If these men could carry out an assignment without security equipment, how much better would it be especially when they be empowered, any moment from now?” he queried.
“We are appealing to the federal government to quickly reinstall security apparatus for an efficient an effective security services delivery across the states of the federation.
Similarly, Chief Nnalue Aninwobi, the eldest man in Ama-owele kindred of Mgbakwu also expressed fear over the escalating criminal activities in the area. According to him, such crime wave had never been experienced in the history of the town. “Nothing will ever! Whatsoever will push us as to go on exile from Mgbakwu, our father’s land,” Nnanwobi declared, while urging the state police command to quickly intensify efforts to rid Mgbakwu community of criminals.