It was also gathered that the hoodlums whisked the students into the forest shortly after they ambushed them while journeying on a bus along Okigwe-Uturu Road.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, John Kalu, confirmed the development in a statement on Thursday, saying that two of the students escaped from the clutches of the hoodlums while others were still being held hostage by the criminals.
The statement read, “Abia State Government is currently monitoring an incident that happened in Okigwe, Imo State, yesterday which led to the suspected abduction of yet to be determined number of students of the Abia State University, Uturu, who apparently ran into a yet to be identified gang of hoodlums operating along the Okigwe-Uturu Road.
“Preliminary information available to us indicates that the students were moving in a mini van from Okigwe to Uturu between 7pm – 8pm when they ran into the armed gang who marched them into the nearby forest along with other yet to be identified travelers. Two of the students managed to escape from the hoodlums while others are still being held at a yet to be identified location.
“We are working with the government of Imo State and relevant security agencies in both states to ensure the rescue of the abducted students and others.
“Members of the public and ABSU community are advised to remain calm as we will spare no resource in ensuring the safety of the victims.
“No criminal operating within our environment will be allowed to escape justice as we take the job of protecting lives and property of Abians and visitors to the State very seriously.”
From Borno to Yobe, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna, and now Abia, Nigeria has become a hotbed of kidnappers of late as the criminals target schools.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that on March 11, 2021, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, were kidnapped by bandits. Out of the 39 students, 37 had so far been released after 56 days while two students remained in captivity.
Aside the Afaka abduction, no fewer than 23 students and a member of staff of Greenfield University, Kaduna were also abducted from the school on April 20, 2021. Few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has recently come under fire over the escalating kidnappings and killings in the country, with many losing confidence in the ability of Buhari, a retired military commander, who won the 2015 and 2019 general elections with the promise of ending the insecurity in the country.