By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Abductors of a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta state, Dr Phillips Okwada, have contacted his family and demanded N100 million as ransom.
Okwada was, on Wednesday night, allegedly abducted by six gunmen in Agbor and taken to an unknown destination only to call the family in the early hours of Thursday to make the demand.
Delta state police commissioner, Hafiz Muhammed Inuwah, who confirmed the kidnap to our correspondent, said the police had intensified efforts to ensure the release of the former House of Representatives member, adding “We are working hard for his release unhurt and we don’t talk about paying ransom among the police. We are on top of the situation to release him unhurt very soon.”
Sources said Okwada was abducted in his farm in Ewuru. The community is a fledging industrial settlement, famous for its efficient traditional orthopaedic and herbal treatment culture and lies at the outskirts of Agbor town, the seat of the Ika South local government area of Delta state.
Our informed sources said that the kidnappers, who released a staccato of automatic gunfire before abducting the renowned farmer, forced him into their waiting vehicle. They sped off to an unknown destination in the vehicle which had no plate number, even as gunshots still rent the air.
Since the kidnap, there has been serious panic and fear as it was said to be the sixth instance of gunmen kidnapping unsuspecting members of the public in the area.
Flash points for these hoodlums appear to be Agbor town, Kwale, Ogwashi Uku, Onitsha Ugbo Junction, Issele Uku, Azagba and Obomkpa communities.
Inuwah, speaking further, assured that the police would do everything possible to ensure those behind the kidnap activities were brought to arrest, adding that the police at present, had commenced 48-hour patrol in the areas and that the hoodlums would be arrested soon.
A family member of the kidnap victim, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, described the incident as unfortunate, adding “We got a call from the people this morning asking for N100 million and we were warned not to call the police into the matter or else something terrible might happen. We are praying for him and we are sure he will be released unhurt in Jesus name.”