Suspected cult members, who abducted three Lebanese workers in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, have refused to release them despite pleas from traditional rulers and chiefs.
The three Lebanese, who work for Raffoul Nigeria Limited, a construction company handling the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road in the area, were abducted by cult members, notorious for kidnapping and attacking high profile targets.
The cultists killed at least three prominent politicians, who travelled from Port Harcourt to Andoni during the last general elections. The development has since made some politicians to desist from travelling to perform their civic responsibility.
Among those allegedly killed by the cultists are Mr. Ignatius Ephraim-Bara, Chief Mowan Etete and Mrs. Emilia Nte, a former chairperson of the area. The cultists are believed to belong to Iceland and Degbam cult groups.
Following the abduction, Governor Nyesom Wike issued a 72-hour ultimatum to traditional rulers and chiefs in Andoni, to fish out the perpetrators of the crime or face dethronement.
The Chairman of Andoni Traditional Rulers Council, Dr. Aaron Ikuru, appealed to the governor to be patient, so that stakeholders could work on getting the foreigners released.
He said: “We are thoroughly disturbed because we are being painted in bad light by these miscreants. We want to appeal to the governor not to be angry, especially with the traditional rulers.”
But more than a week after the governor’s ultimatum, and despite series of meetings with traditional rulers and political leaders, the cultists have absolutely refused to release the Lebanese.
According to a source, the abductors want the state government to pay an undisclosed amount of money before they would release the foreigners.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, said that the police would do everything within their power to ensure the release of the three foreigners.
He added: “Although the three Lebanese have not been released, we are working towards their release. That is why we have involved some stakeholders, including leaders from Andoni to ensure that they regain their freedom.”
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