Kidnapped Delta Judge regains freedom


Gangs earn a huge living kidnapping high net worth individuals in the area.

A Judge in the oil rich Delta state, kidnapped last week for a ransom of seven million naira, has been freed by his captors.

The judge, Marcel Okoh, was released Wednesday night near the state capital, Asaba, and subsequently reunited with family.

The kidnappers seized Mr. Okoh, Tuesday, last week, on his way to Warri where he was to resume as a vacation judge.

It is unclear if the ransom was paid before his release, but reports say the kidnapper let him off after lawyers struck a deal with them.

Kidnapping, once used as a tool by militants to challenge marginalization of the oil rich states of the Niger Delta, has become the most lucrative crime in the area.

Some weeks ago, the police foiled an attempt by kidnappers to seize the State’s Head of Service, Okey Ofili.

Often, families of the victim are made to part with huge sums to secure their release.

Most victims also deny paying ransom to secure their release, thereby encouraging the crime which thrives on intimidation.

Charles Muka, spokesman of the Delta State Police Command, confirmed the release of the judge. He could however not confirm whether ransom was paid for the judge’s release.

“The police made several efforts to rescue him and to track down the elusive armed gang preying on Deltans and Nigerians as a means of earning a living,” Mr. Muka said.

He added that the police had arrested Mr. Okoh’s driver and were still investigating the kidnap.

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