Scores of farmers and community leaders in Epe, east of Lagos State, on Monday, besieged the office of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to protest against the continued abduction of their members by kidnappers.
The disgruntled residents claimed that nearly 50 farmers have so far been kidnapped at different times with millions of naira paid as ransom before the victims were freed.
While expressing sadness that the state government had not taken decisive action to stem the growing tide of kidnapping within the axis, they specifically requested that the governor deploys officers of the Joint Taskforce (JTF) to curtail kidnapping in Igbodu/Isiwo axis of Epe.
Armed with placards carrying various inscriptions such as: “Help us from kidnappers.’’ “Save farmers, save the nation,’’ “Please, flush out the creeks,’’ “Food security is threatened’, “Save our Investments,’’ they called on the governor to immediately take action against the ugly trend, which they said is discouraging entrepreneurs from farming and achieving the economic diversification programme of the Federal Government.
A spokesperson of the protesters, Mr Ayokunle Ore, said that their farms had been under attacks by kidnappers since September, 2016.
He said that 33 persons had been kidnapped from different farms and 26 of the victims released after payment of huge ransom.
He added that seven other victims were still under the captivity of the kidnappers.
Addressing the protesters, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule condemned the incessant attacks by kidnappers in the area.
She said that in-spite of government’s efforts to make the state safe and secure for the residents and investors, some unscrupulous persons still engage in crime and make life difficult for people.
Adebule said: “Security issues are sensitive issues and the government is not resting on its oars.
“We are doing all we can to restore peace in the area.
“Currently, the state government is speaking with the Federal Government to see how they can work with us to combat the problems of insecurity because we cannot do it alone.
“Government cannot be involved in paying ransom, but will ensure that it provide the security agencies with necessary equipment and support to contain the situation and rescue the victims.
“We sympathise with you and we beg for your understanding.
“I will relay your complaints to Gov, Ambode for further and appropriate action on the matter.”