A trader at Nigeria’s biggest donkey market in Ezamgbo, Ebonyi State, Alhaji Salisu Yunusa, has been abducted by unknown gunmen, a police spokesman said Monday.
The British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) reported that Yunusa’s abduction apparently led to the brief closure of the 80-year-old market.
His kidnappers are believed to be demanding a ransom.
About 200 donkeys were said to be slaughtered at the market’s abattoirs every day for human consumption.
The state police spokesman, Mr. Sylvester Igbo, said efforts were being made to secure Yunusa’s release.
The BBC’s Abdussalam Ibrahim Ahmed, in Enugu, the Enugu State capital, however, alleged that the abductors are demanding N300 million in ransom.
However, there were speculation that Yunusa, whose hails from the North, may have been targeted in revenge for the killing of southerners in the North.
Yunusa, who is one of the leaders of the market, was said to have been kidnapped as he was driving to his home on Friday evening in Ezamgbo.
The market, it was gathered, was shut down yesterday morning as traders protested against Yunusa’s abduction.
But the market was later reopened, though with the traders still scared that its closure could spark off tension and complicate efforts to secure Yunusa’s release.
Buying and selling donkeys and donkey meat has been a thriving business at the market since it opened 80 years ago.
The market is run by northerners who sell donkey meat to people in the South-east who eat it.
Customers from other South-eastern states also travel to the market to buy donkeys and their meat.