Gunmen, Sunday night abducted a prominent chief of President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke, in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State.
The victim, identified as Chief Inengite Nitabai, aged 70, who was said to be the president’s cousin, was kidnapped at about 9pm by ten heavily armed men, according to reports.
The kidnapped Chief is described as the traditional head of the compound from which the President hails from, according to a Vanguard source in the community.
“Nitabai is the cousin of President Goodluck Jonathan, and was kidnapped from his compound located before Otuoke bridge, off Otu-Okpoti-Ogbia Road without a gunshot,” the source said.
Nitabai it was further learnt by Vanguard, has been acting like a father to the President since Jonathan’s real biological father died.
The victim, his wife and his wife’s sister and three of his children were in the house when the assailants stormed the compound.
The victim’s wife sister, 37-year-old Akinobebh Jin, said Silas, one of the sons of the victim first sighted the criminals and raised the alarm.
“We came back from somewhere around 8pm. Silas was at the verandah doing his assignment while my in-law, my sister and two other siblings were in the living room together.
“After sometimes, Silas came shouting and saying that some people had just entered into the compound. As we sprang on our feet, we were confused because we didn’t know where to run to.”
A security source told Vanguard that the chief’s vehicle was later recovered at Onuegbum community waterfront where it was abandoned, an indication that the gunmen might have made away with their victim through the creek.
The incident, it was learnt, provoked heavy security presence in the community which is also host to the Federal University.
The Deputy Commander of the Joint Task force codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, Commodore Ime Ekpa and team of security agents were said to have visited the location to assess the crime scene.
Contacted, the state police public relations officer, Mr. Alex Akhigbe confirmed the incident.
He said the police report showed that the abducted community leader had made a report at the Kolo Police Station on the illegal sale of his land by some unidentified persons.
“After it was discovered, the abducted man insisted that the culprits refund the buyer his money and leave his land alone. He was later kidnapped.
“We have identified those involved and are on their trail. One of the suspect is in our custody. The vehicle also has been recovered,” Akhigbe said.
He however added that he xould not establish the relationship between the abducted Chief and Mr. President
“Investigation is in progress to unmask the kidnappers and rescue the victim,” he said. [Vanguard]