Bayelsa State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, who was abducted by yet-to-be-ascertained gunmen on January 20, regained his freedom on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Mr Otokito was released by his abductors on the fifth day after he was kidnapped from his Otuokpoti community residence in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The kidnappers had established telephone contact with the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti to demand the release of the father of the kidnap gang leaders as a condition to free Mr Otokito.
The Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa, Ben Nebolisa, and the State Director of the State Security Services, Mohammed Abdullahi, presented Mr Otokito to Governor Douye Diri on Monday evening at Government House, Yenagoa.
Addressing reporters after Mr Otokito’s release, Governor Diri announced the deposition of the Otuokpoti community paramount ruler, A. C. T. Wongo, and appointed Rescue Abe, in an acting capacity.
The governor also announced the sacking of the Community Development Committee Chairman, Azibalua Amon, replacing him with Jerry Offor, in an acting capacity.
The youth president, Emolem Igue, was also replaced with Shadrach Afiemo.
According to Mr Diri, preliminary investigation revealed that all of them were complicit in the kidnap of the commissioner.
Mr Diri reiterated the state government’s zero-tolerance to crime and kidnapping.
He warned people who see kidnapping as a business to desist as his government will not hesitate to invoke the extant laws and make the state uncomfortable for criminals.
He called on all community leaders to remain vigilant and ensure that peace prevailed in their communities as the government will not hesitate to sanction anyone found wanting in the discharge of their duties.
Mr Diri, who said preliminary investigation revealed that illegal refining of crude was connected to the kidnap, warned all those involved in such businesses in the state to stop forthwith.
He thanked security agencies and all those who availed the government of useful information that led to the release of the commissioner, assuring that his government will continue to make Bayelsa safe for all residents.
“Investigation is still ongoing. So, we appeal to all in Otuokpoti to keep the peace and security agencies will keep an eagle eye on Otuokpoti and environs,” Mr Diri said.
It would be recalled that the governor had earlier ruled out payment of ransom to secure the release of the commissioner.
The Commissioner of Police declared four people – Joshua Abi, Clergy Mabinton, Gift Tebeda and Azin Azin – wanted, in connection with the abduction.
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