Six students, three teachers, and a bus driver have been kidnapped in south-western Nigeria by a thus far unknown group of armed men. The kidnapping took place in Nigeria’s Ekiti state. The Ekiti state government called the kidnappings “callous and unacceptable”, and said that “nothing would be spared in the efforts to rescue them”.
The group was kidnapped by a group of gunmen on their way back from a road trip on the evening of January 29th.
A statement from the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media claimed that “security agencies in the state are already on the trail of the abductors with a mandate to bring the pupils and their teachers back safely”. Despite this, state agencies have not given any clues on to which group may have been behind the abductions, and if they are being ransomed at all.
Ikiti State Governor Oyebanji has urged the populace to remain calm, and share any information they may have on the abductions with the relevant authorities.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is in France at the moment, has condemned the kidnapping and similarly vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, stating they will “face the full wrath of the law”.
Governor Oyebanji has also said that security across the state will be increased in order to crack down upon “criminal elements” within the state.
On the same day as the kidnappings, two local monarchs were murdered, also in Ekiti. A group of three monarchs were travelling together after returning from a meeting in Ado Ekiti, and were ambushed by a group of armed men in Ikole. Two of the monarchs were killed in the attack, while the third managed to escape.
The two Monarchs presided over Imojo and Esun, two towns within Ekiti. While condemning the attack, Governor Oyebanji has urged people of the two towns to avoid “taking the law into their own hands” over the attacks.
Both President Tinubu and Governor Oyebanji have vowed to find and arrest the murderers, which some community leaders have referred to as an assassination.
Earlier in the day on January 29th, prior to the kidnappings, a group of approximately 50 different civil organizations issued a joint call upon President Tinubu, asking him to declare a state of emergency regarding the deteriorating security situation in the country.
The civil organizations claimed that, since President Tinubu took office in May of last year, there have been over 1,800 kidnappings.
While abductions from militant groups like Boko Haram happen semi-frequently, the country is also witnessing an uptick in kidnappings from armed gangs, who will lay ambushes on roads both rural and urban, and attempt to ransom those they kidnap.
While the government has announced they will be increasing security within Ekiti, it is unclear the general measures the government will take to tackle the crime wave.