The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has suggested that the prolonged captivity of the Managing Director of Ogba Zoological Garden and Nature Park in Benin City, Andy Ehanire, is not good for tourism business in the country, as it sends the wrong signal that the country’s tourist sites are not safe.
Ehanire was kidnapped some three weeks ago and information regarding his kidnap has been scanty with the Nigerian Police saying that he was kidnapped by militants who they are closing on. However, a source close to the family disclosed that the kidnappers are demanding over N1 billion for his release, which has thrown the entire Ehanire family into a state of confusion as they are said not to have such an amount.
FTAN, speaking through its President, Alhaji Saleh Rabo, said the only way to instil confidence in the industry and assure tourists and operators of their safety is for the security agencies to quickly nib this ugly incident in the bud.
Rabo called on the federal government to give the Inspector General of Police a marching order to move to Benin City with his rescue team to take over the case.
Meanwhile, the head of the entire Ehanire family, Chief Harrison I. Ehanire, has said the family was worried by the development and that the wife and children of their son are heavily traumatised while his businesses, especially the zoo, are in disarray and suffering from his long absence.
He, therefore, appealed to the kidnappers to set free their son unharmed even as he called on the general public to join the family in praying for the prompt release of the kidnapped operator of Ogba Zoo.
Even the Benin monarch, HRM, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, is said to be perturbed by this incident as the family is very close to the palace: the wife of Ehanire is a Benin princess while the family holds one of the high ranking positions in Benin Kingdom.
All is said not to be well in Edo State since the kidnap of Ehanire as three other persons have also been kidnapped.
The state governor, Godwin Obaseki, has since been to Abuja to seek for help from the Presidency and is said not to be happy with the Edo Police Command over the present state of security in the state, particularly Benin City.