Armed men abducted the traditional ruler of the Isiala Umudi community, Nkwere Local Government Area Imo State southeastern Nigeria.
The monarch, Jewel Ndenkwo, was kidnapped in Owerri around 7 pm on Friday.
The armed men took him away in front of one of his companies, Udekings Electronics, in the area.
A store owner in the area, who asked not to be identified, told PREMIUM TIMES that gunmen fired into the air as the monarch tried to flee.
“So, he stood still in front of the gunmen. They took it away while people were still moving,” he said.
The kidnappers have not yet established contact with his family as of Saturday night, it was learned.
A police spokesman in the state, Michael Abattam, did not return calls or a text message seeking comment about the kidnapping.
Increase in kidnapping cases
Kidnapping for ransom has been on the rise in Imo State lately.
The latest incident occurred some three weeks after gunmen abducted four Reverend Sisters from the Catholic Church along Okigwe-Umulolo Road in Okigwe State Local Government Area.
They were freed by the gunmen about two days after their abduction.
Last month, gunmen kidnapped a Catholic priest and a seminarian along Okigwe-Umunneochi Road, which lies between Imo and Abia states.
The victims were released two days later after paying their kidnappers a ransom.
In July, gunmen kidnapped dozens of passengers along the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway between the communities of Leru and Ihube, another border between Imo and Abia states.