Fishermen in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, on Friday recovered the body of a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was abducted alongside the former leader’s uncle, Chief Inegite Jonathan, witnesses said.
Relatives said the body of Samuel Oki, 35, was found floating on Otuoke river, two days after the abduction.
The police spokesperson for Bayelsa State, Asini Butswat, told PREMIUM TIMES he was aware of the report, but could not immediately confirm its details. He said he was working to receive briefings from the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area.
Armed gunmen had on Wednesday abducted 72-year-old Chief Inegite Jonathan, President Jonathan’s uncle and foster father, but the kidnap of Mr. Oki was not immediately noticed until several hours later.
Fishermen in Otuoke community on Friday discovered his decomposing body, raising fears about the safety of the former president’s 72-year-old uncle, whose whereabout was still unknown by Friday afternoon.
A family member of the deceased, Igbogamini Paul, said both men were kidnapped on Wednesday.
Mr. Paul said they believe that a gunshot they heard during the abduction was targeted at Mr. Oki.
He expressed sadness over the incident.
Villagers said local fishermen recovered the body and anchored it by the riverside to prevent the body from being carried away by water currents.
The body had been deposited at a morgue in the area.
Meanwhile sympathisers have been visiting the Otuoke residence of the abducted chief located within the neighbourhood of the former president’s country home.
The kidnappers have yet to establish any contact with the family of their hostage since Wednesday.
The police spokesperson, Mr. Butswat, a deputy superintendent, said the police were still trailing the kidnappers.
“On 17th February, 2016, at about 03.30hrs, seven unknown gunmen abducted one Inengite Nitabai at his residence in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area.
“A massive manhunt have been launched by a combined team of Marine Police and Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Command, to rescue the victim and arrest the abductors.
“Investigation is ongoing,” Mr. Butswat said in an earlier statement.
Nancy Dickson, a 26-year-old sister of Bayelsa’s Gov. Seriake Dickson, abducted in December 2015, has remained in captivity for over 50 days now despite an ultimatum given by the governor to the kidnappers to free her.
The governor had in his first tenure in office signed the anti – kidnapping law which prescribes death sentence for kidnapping but no one has been convicted under the law.