Kidnapped Jonathan’s uncle, Nitabai, not dead or freed, police say

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

President Jonathan’s visit to Otuoke did not free his uncle.

The Bayelsa State Police Command has dismissed rumours of the death of Nengite Nitabai, the 70-year-old uncle to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr. Nitabai, 70, a community leader in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa, was on February 23 abducted by gunmen in his residence at Otuoke.

The Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa, Hilary Okpara, who described the rumour as a ‘wicked lie’ said that the Police was closing in on the hoodlums who abducted the septuagenarian 15 days ago.

Mr. Okpara said on Monday that six suspects including a traditional ruler believed to be the father of the leader of the kidnap gang were arrested in connection with the abduction.

The members of the victim’s family had offered a ransom of N30 million to the abductors who had demanded N500 million. The kidnappers rejected the offer.

The kidnappers had threatened to kill the hostage if the ransom was not paid, family members told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Jonathan’s visit to Otuoke over the weekend had raised hopes that Mr. Nitabai, who is believed to have sponsored Mr. Jonathan through school, would be freed; with many residents discussing privately that the president would ensure the payment of the ransom and release of the victim.

The president has since returned to Abuja, while the heavy security presence in Otuoke since the kidnap continues.

Ransom payment to free victims is a norm in Bayelsa where kidnapping has been on the rise despite a law punishing the crime with the death penalty.


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