Kano State, Northern Nigeria’s business hub has been overtaken by anger and grief following the abduction of 18 businessmen along Kaduna-Abuja highway while travelling to Abia State to carry out their businesses.
Reports indicated that the victims from the popular textile market in Kantin Kwari, Kano, were ambushed by kidnappers when the tyre of the luxurious bus in which they were travelling was shot at forcing the vehicle to stop.
“Their vehicle was said to have been attacked by the armed men, before they were moved to the bush,” an eyewitness said.
However, there were conflicting reports on the location where the businessmen were attacked. While a source said it was along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, another said it happened along the Lokoja-Okene expressway.
Abubakar Kabiru, president of the Arewa Youth Traders Association of Nigeria, told reporters on Thursday, that the businessmen were on their way to Aba on Sunday night when the kidnappers shot the tyre of their luxury bus and abducted them.
“The traders were on their way to Aba on Sunday so as to buy their goods on Monday morning and return to Kano on Tuesday morning when kidnappers shot at their luxury bus on Kaduna-Abuja highway,” Kabiru said.
Abba Bello, managing director of Kantin Kwari market management board, said the incident occurred along the Lokoja-Okene expressway.
He said the kidnapped businessmen are 18, but the board has so far confirmed the names of 12.
“People are saying the victims are up to 20 or even more. But from what we can confirm so far, they are 18,” Bello said.
“They were all traveling to Aba in Abia state when the gunmen attacked them along Lokoja-Okene expressway in Kogi state.”
Bello stated that he has not received any information on whether the kidnappers have contacted the families.
Meanwhile, Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna State commissioner for internal security and home affairs, has denied that the incident occurred in the state.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Aruwan said security operatives covering the Kaduna-Abuja road have not received any report on the kidnap, adding that the incident occurred in another state.
“The Kaduna State Government wishes to issue clarification on a report emerging across several blogs and websites, alleging that an unspecified number of traders from Kano State were kidnapped on the Kaduna-Abuja Road,” the commissioner said.
“The federal security agencies operating on the Kaduna-Abuja road, as at this time, have not reported any such incident.
“Furthermore, from all checks conducted so far by the Kaduna State Government, the alleged kidnapping occurred elsewhere in another state.”