The kidnappers of Chief Inengite Nitabai, cousin of President Goodluck Jonathan, have rejected N30 million offered by the family for the release of the septuagenarian, our correspondent learnt.
The kidnappers had, last Friday, opened communication with the family and demanded N500 million ransom as a condition for the release of Nitabai, Jonathan’s adopted father.
The family did not hide their feelings by telling the captors that the demand was outrageous.
Since that Friday, it was learnt that the family had been in a quandary as to how to ‘appease’ the kidnappers to avoid them hurting or killing the victim.
Nitabai was kidnapped on Sunday, February 23, by unknown gunmen, suspected to number 10, and whisked them away in his private Sport Utility Vehicle to yet-to-be-ascertained destination.
A security source, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that the kidnappers said the N30 million was too small.
He said, “The kidnappers were said to have described the N30 million offer by the family as a huge joke.
“They said it was ‘unpresidential’ to give such a paltry sum to them. What will N30 million amount to when shared by all the interested parties in the abduction.”
The rejection of the N30 million offer came on the heels of call by the Ijaw Youth Council on the family not to offer any ransom to the kidnappers.
The IYC said a three-man committee had been set up by the council to work with security agencies to fish out the kidnappers.
Spokesman for IYC, Eric Omare, who made this known after the inaugural meeting of the council at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, said the identities of the three men would not be disclosed for security reasons as serious progress had been made to free the victim.
Omare said, “We have warned those concerned not to pay any ransom to the kidnappers because it (kidnapping) is a crime which the council is fighting against.
“Contacts have been established and we want to assure all that in no distance time the President’s uncle will be released.
“In consonance with the position of the IYC we have advised the relevant persons not to offer any ransom in order to effect the release of President’s uncle because if we offer ransom we are encouraging more kidnappings.
“IYC’s position is that criminality must be erased from Ijaw land, so we have told them not to offer any ransom, though he has not been released, we are very sure in the next few days or hours we would effect his (Nitabai’s) release.”