Calabar - A non-governmental organisation, Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) Coalition in Cross River, says that no fewer than 20 children are kidnapped in Cross River within nine months.
This is contained in a statement by James Ibor, Coordinator, PACT Coalition Cross River State and Executive Secretary Basic Rights Counsel Initiative of the group, Mr James Ibor, in Calabar on Friday.
Ibor said that PACT had been investigating the recent spate of child kidnapping in Calabar an ancient city famous for its serene and peaceful environment.
According to him, the city regarded as the safest in Nigeria is now nose-diving into a den of kidnappers with incessant reported cases of child kidnapping.
"The fact that Calabar is increasingly gaining this sad reputation as a centre of child kidnapping should be of major concern to all state and national leaders.
"Over the last nine months, at least 20 children in the city and outskirts of Calabar have been reportedly kidnapped for suspected ritual purposes.
"The number of such cases seems to be increasingly on the rise. Children aged between one to seven years have been reportedly kidnapped, leaving families distressed and helpless.
"On the 9th of July 2015, a one year and nine months old baby was kidnapped at Ikot-Abasi Obori Street, Ikot-Ishie Town, Calabar. On 2nd June, 2015 a four and a half year old child was kidnapped at Awi, Akamkpa.
"We have the full data and documentation of these kidnapped children in Cross River,’’ Ibor said.
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He said that it was also worrisome that parents had been subjected to desperation and trauma in course of financing investigations by law enforcement agents.
The organization also condemned what it called heartless and senseless kidnapping of children in Cross River, and urged the Federal and state governments to put an end to child kidnapping.
According to the organisation it will help save and protect the lives of our younger generation.
He appealed to all to ensure that the victims were returned to their parents alive, adding that anyone suspected of involvement in kidnapping of children should be prosecuted.