The peaceful atmosphere of Otuoke, President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State was shattered as gunmen abducted a prominent chief of the community who is reportedly a cousin to President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the Vanguard, the 70-year old victim, Chief Inengite Nitabai, was kidnapped at about 9pm on on Sunday, May 17, 2015 by ten heavily armed men.
The kidnapped Chief is the traditional head of the compound from which the President hails from, according to a community source.
“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 has been like a father to the President since Jonathan’s real biological father died.
The victim, his wife, his wife’s sister and three of his children were in the house when the assailants stormed the compound.
Sister to the victim’s wife’s, 37-year-old Akinobebh Jin, said Silas, one of the sons of the kidnapped Chief 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.”
The chief’s vehicle was later recovered at Onuegbum community waterfront where it had been abandoned, an indication that they gunmen might have made away with their victim via a motorboat through the labyrinthine creeks.
The kidnap it is reported, has provoked a heavy security presence in the community which also hosts a Federal University.
The Deputy Commander of the Joint Task force codenamed ‘Operation Pulo Shield’, Commodore Ime Ekpa and a team of security agents were said to have visited the location to assess the crime scene.
The state police public relations officer, Mr. Alex Akhigbe has also confirmed the incident.
He said the police report showed that the abducted community leader had recently 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. I cannot establish the relationship between the abducted Chief and Mr. President
“Investigation are in progress to unmask the kidnappers and rescue the victim,” said the police spokesman.