The President, Andoni Youth Coalition, Mr Mkpon Ijonama, has urged the police and other stakeholders to swing into action and ensure the rescue of three Lebanese construction workers kidnapped in Rivers on Saturday.
Ijonma, in a phone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday, said the foreigners working for Radford Construction Company handling ongoing construction on the Andoni Unity road, were in the early hours of Saturday taken hostage by kidnappers.
He said that the kidnap had since attracted an altimatum by Gov. Nyesom Wike who threatened to revoke the contract if the victims were not urgently released.
The youth leader also said that the governor had tasked all government recognised traditional rulers in Andoni local government area to ensure quick rescue of the kidnapped victims or risk loosing their traditional stools and certificates of recognition.
“As much as I won’t support weak traditional leadership at the grassroot, I would plead with the governor to focus more on strengthening synergy with the police and its sister agencies to enhance effective policing and security in the volatile region rather than entrust traditional rulers with such a huge task.”
Descrbing the peculiarity of the area especially its leadership formation and terrain, the youth leader said it would rather be difficult to successfully handle security challenges using the traditional rulers as there was no single leader saddled with a supreme authority in the area.
“Andoni communities are mostly seperated by rivers and creeks and the leadership of these communities are also independent; for instance, the first class chief of NGO town has no leadership grip on Ataba community even when its an Andoni community, same goes for others.
” I urge the governor to understand that the volatile security situation in the state is beyond the confines of our traditional institutions and that continued dethronement of traditional rulers on grounds of communal insecurity may paint this democracy in bad light, ” he added.
Wike, as part of effort to strengthen security in the state, challenged paramount rulers to maintain peace and security or risk the withdrawal of their titles.
Since the pronouncement, an Ogoni monarch, Chief Frank Noryaa, the Gbenemene Baabe in Khana Local Government Area of the state was dethroned over cult related crises in his domain.
Meanwhile, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the incident, adding that the police were exploiting necessary steps to ensure their rescue.