“They allowed me speak with her twice. I asked her if the kidnappers are Ijaws, she confirmed that they are.
The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Furuebi Akene, has described as “frustrating” the fruitless search for his 78-year-old mother, Patimi Akene, who was abducted last week by armed gunmen at the Fonibiri Community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The kidnappers, who he confirmed were Ijaw youth, and had demanded the resignation of the commissioner as ‘ransom,’ made a volte face within the week and demanded for monetary ransom.
According to Mr. Akene, though the abductors have reduced the ransom demand from N30 million to N10 million in the last few days, they have also threatened to cut off her head over his refusal to pay the ransom.
The Commissioner, who said the threat was made over the telephone, maintained that he was not going to be intimidated and be apprehensive over the threat.
“One of the kidnappers, who claimed to be the leader of the gang, threatened to kill my mother,” the official said. “He said he will cut off her head and deliver it to my house at INEC road and the body at the village because of the difficulty at getting me to agree with their demand.”
“They have stopped calling me to discuss ransom,” he said.
Mr. Akene noted that the kidnappers have since been calling his younger sister with the ransom demand.
He said his sister offered to pay N1 million, and pleaded with the kidnappers to collect the ransom. But the kidnappers declined, claiming that such sum is too paltry and not enough for fuel and feeding of the kidnapped victim.
The commissioner said when the news of the abduction got to him; he cancelled his attendance of the World Surveyors Conference in Malaysia.
“When they demanded that I resign from the present administration as condition for my mother’s release, I told them that I am not a man out to sacrifice his mother for position,” he said.
He also confirmed speaking with his mother as a proof that the victim was alive.
“They allowed me speak with her twice. The first time, she told me she was okay and I asked her if the kidnappers are Ijaws, she confirmed that they are.
“On the second occasion, they made my mother cry as a means to convince me of their seriousness. She was crying and begged me to secure her release and give them the money.
“They asked me to pay them their money. I told them I will not pay as I am not owing them,” he said.
Mr. Akene said the last text message he received from the kidnappers was “You have lost your mother”.
The abducted mother of the Commissioner was whisked away by armed men numbering about six at her home close to the Fonibiri waterside at about 12 noon on June 21.
Mr. Akene said the gunmen abducted his mother without firing a shot.
The kidnap of the Mrs. Akene comes a fortnight after the abduction of the 90 years old mother-in-law of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson.
The speaker’s mother in-law was freed last week in unclear circumstances as the speaker had vowed not to part with any ransom. However, community sources said that a ransom was paid to facilitate the freedom of the woman.
Families of victims are often advised by security agencies to keep the ransom issue under wraps.
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