President Goodluck Jonathan’s septuagenarian cousin, Inengite Nitabai, is still languishing in kidnappers’ den 10 days after he was whisked away by his assailants.
Nitabai, a compound chief in Jonathan’s Ebele Family, was abducted by 10 gunmen on February 23 at his residence in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
He was driven out of his compound in his Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) by the bandits who harassed his inlaw and collected N400,000 from his wife.
His car was later recovered at Onuebum waterside, a development that fueled speculations that his abductors escaped with him through the creeks.
But 10 days after the incident, Nitabai’s whereabouts had remained unknown.
Security operatives seemed clueless about the location of the 70-year-old man and his kidnappers.
Though security operatives flooded Otuoke and surrounding creeks in search of Nitabai, their efforts had yielded no positive results.
The kidnappers had called the family of their victim three days after the incident demanding N500m and threatening to kill him if the money was not provided.
It has not been confirmed whether the captors of Nitabai had brought down their demands.
Family members, though in dire straits, were said to have been instructed not to speak to members of the press.
But a member of the family said issues surrounding Nitabai’s abduction were complicated.
The source who pleaded anonymity said central to the issue was a land dispute between Nitabai and some members of his family.
“We are praying that they should release our father. We hope to see him come out alive. The police are investigating the land dispute to know whether it has anything to do with the kidnapping. Some people have been arrested. But is is complex”, he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, said security agencies were making huge progress.