Unknown gunmen have abducted Senator Patrick Ani, a former senator who represented Cross River South on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) between 1991 and 1992.
Eyewitnesses told journalists in Calabar on Thursday that the former legislator was abducted by the gunmen on Wednesday in his herbal farm in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state.
Ani is the brother of a former Minister of Finance, Anthony Ani.
However, ASP Irene Ugbo, the Police Public Relations Officer of Cross River Police Command, told reporters that although the incident had been reported to the police, she had yet to confirm it.
A man working in Ani’s farm, who preferred anonymity, also confirmed that his boss was kidnapped.
He said that policemen came to the farm and promised to investigate the matter.
He could not, however, ascertain the exact time of the abduction.
In a related development, some foreigners and Nigerians working for a multinational company were recently kidnapped in the state while their Nigerian driver was killed.
The abducted persons were released some days later after a ransom was reportedly paid.
In the meantime, the state government has decided to establish a security outfit to complement the efforts of the existing security agencies in the state.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River said that the establishment of the security outfit was part of his administration’s proactive approach, aimed at ensuring peace and security in the state.
The governor gave the assurance he received the Consul-General of France in Nigeria, Ambassador Laurent Polonceaux, and his entourage at his private residence in Calabar.
He said that the operations of the outfit, the Homeland Security Service, which would not be armed, would be a complete departure from the traditional methods of policing.
Ayade said the Homeland Security was also expected to provide about 3,000 jobs for the citizens of the state.
He said that the duties of the outfit would involve intelligence gathering and profiling of persons coming into the state and going out of the state, among others.
He, however, solicited the technical and logistics support of the government of France for the security organisation.
Responding, Polonceaux thanked the governor for the meeting and solicited healthy, robust relations between his country and Cross River.