Kidnappers demand N50m for Bayelsa monarch’s freedom

“Panic in Nsukka over herbalist’s murder” 

THE abductors of the deputy paramount ruler of the Otuokpoti Community in Ogbia Local Council of Bayelsa State yesterday contacted families of their victim and demanded a ransom of N50 million.

The kidnappers also assured that the monarch would not die from the bullet injury he sustained during his abduction.

Meanwhile, palpable fear has gripped Nsukka, Enugu State, following the murder and dumping of the bullet-riddled body of an herbalist, Roland Iyida, along the road in Uda community, Enugu-Ezike, Igbo-Eze Council.

Iyida was kidnapped last week by unknown gunmen at his residence and all appeals for his release fell on deaf ears.

The development came as the fate of a kidnapped Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Chijioke Amoke, hangs in the balance, as he is still in the den of his abductors.

Hundreds of Catholic priests in diocese of Nsukka yesterday rallied at a mass, praying to God for the safe return of Amoke.

But the diocese has stated clearly that it would not pay any ransom for the release of the priest, appealing to his relations, friends and well wishers to remain calm.

Last week, a sleeping Otuokpoti town witnessed an invasion by some unknown gunmen who shot and abducted Noble Ewege, the deputy chief of the community.

The five gunmen not only injured their victim but also dragged away the chief into their waiting speedboat before disappearing into the creeks.

They stormed the riverside settlement in a speedboat at about 3.00 a.m. and made straight for the residence of their target.

Following the demand of ransom, source told The Guardian that it might not be unconnected with the piece of land Ewege recently leased to the Nigeria Inland Waterways for the construction of an inland port in Otuokpoti.

It was learnt that proceed from the leased land had generated controversies between Ewege and some individuals in the community.

The chief, on sighting the gun-wielding men, jumped out of his bed and attempted to escape through the window, prompting his assailants to open fire on him.

The Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Eguaveon Emopkae, confirmed the development.

The Guardian gathered that the body of the herbalist was found yesterday in the community riddled with bullet wounds and that police in the council have already recovered it and deposited the remains at the Bishop Shanaham Hospital morgue.

Although no word came from the kidnappers as to why they visited such a fate on their victim, the rumour mill has it that the development may be an act of revenge as the deceased may have had an unfinished business with his assailants.


By Willie Etim (Yenagoa) and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)

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