The leader of the abductors of the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, has demanded that his detained father be released by the police as the only condition in which the commissioner will regain his freedom.
According to PUNCH, the kidnappers contacted the paramount ruler of Otokito’s community, Otuokpoti, in the Ogbia Local Government Area to make the demand.
InsightMedia had reported how the gunmen invaded the apartment of the Commissioner, switched off power generator and whiskey him away amidst sporadic gunshots.
The gunmen were said to have kidnapped Otokito for opposing their plan to set up an illegal crude oil refinery in the community’s forest.
The kidnappers’ leader called the community chief on the phone and informed him that the commissioner was in their custody. But they were yet to contact the victim’s family more than 48 hours after they took him away to an unknown place.
PUNCH reported that a family source, who spoke in confidence on Saturday, said the kidnappers’ leader called the traditional ruler at about 5:30am on Saturday.
The source said the camp leader did not demand any ransom but stated that they would release Otokito only on the condition that his detained father was released by the police.
“They’ve not contacted the family but the actor (leader) called the paramount ruler that he actually did the kidnapping and the commissioner is with him.
“He called the paramount ruler at about 5:30am but did not demand ransom. The only seeming demand he placed is that his father held by the police should be freed. He threatened to come back to the community if his demand was not met,” he source said.
Before the incident, the gang leader had reportedly approached Otuokpoti community and held a meeting with some elders and youths, where he sought to set up an illegal bunkering camp around the community’s bush.
He and his men allegedly sealed the understanding reached at the meeting by providing bags of rice, lives goats and cash gifts, among other items.
However, Otokito got wind of the meeting and headed to the village and vowed that as a serving commissioner, he would not allow any illegitimate oil refinery to operate in the area.
Otokito was said to have also confronted the leader of the gang and warned them to stay away from the forest, threatening to expose them if they attempted to carry out their nefarious business.
Apparently angered by the commissioner’s decision to abort their illicit plan, the armed oil thieves were said to have stormed Otokito’s house to kidnap him on Thursday.