•Collect N200,000 ransom to release Emeka after 24hrs
•Extort N6,500 from a farmer
•There was no kidnap, they were repelled — Delta PPRO
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South & Festus Ahon
Suspected herdsmen have continued their onslaught against unsuspecting residents of Delta State, following the kidnap of three peasant farmers and a resident at Admiralty Neighbourhood Estate, Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, weekend.
The suspected herdsmen, numbering five, had stormed a compound in the Ibusa neighbourhood to abduct a landlord, who sighted them earlier and escaped with his wife, using a ladder to scale through the fence.
Emeka, a tenant in the compound, watching television at about 8.30 pm when the kidnappers struck was not so lucky, as the entrance to his apartment was unfastened.
A resident, who said the people were worried over the frequent attacks and abductions, told Vanguard: “The rampaging herdsmen caught Emeka, reportedly watching wrestling in his living room and left the door to his flat open, napping.”
He hinted: ” The landlord, who had escaped with his wife, raised the alarm that herdsmen have held his tenant hostage, which prompted the neighbours to immediately go to the Ibusa Police Station to alert the Police.”
“The Police initially declined to follow them on the excuse that they had no fuel in their patrol van until one of the neighbours volunteered to take them to the scene in his car. Two policemen followed them armed with guns.”
“On getting to the scene, the herdsmen were still with Emeka in his apartment, but rather than confront them, the police officers said they were going back to get reinforcement,” he added.
The inhabitants decried that the hoodlums had left with Emeka into the bush before the policemen returned.
He, however, said Emeka was released after payment of N200,000 Sunday night at Azagba-Ogwashi by the herdsmen, who initially demanded N20 million for his release, threatening to kill him (Emeka) if the N20 million was not paid.
Besides the N200,000 paid as ransom, those who took the money to free him were also asked to bring seven plates of food and recharge card of N5,000.
Other residents, who spoke to Vanguard, said: “A delegation from the Neighbourhood was scheduled to meet the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hafiz Inuwa, yesterday, at Asaba to handover a letter, detailing our plight and asking for protection.”
“The truth is that we are under siege by herdsmen and we want the police to act. They kidnap people almost every other day in Ibusa,” he added.
On the kidnap of three peasant farmers, a reliable source said: “The farmers were on their farms working between Ibusa and Azagba Ogwashi when they were picked by the ravaging armed herdsmen earlier in the day before Emeka was kidnapped.”
According to the source, “Emeka and the three peasant farmers were kept in one camp at Mgbirigba Road, where they call 45 Estate in the bush. The three farmers had also regained their freedom after payment of ransom.”
“Imagine, they collected N6,500 from one of them, I do not have the facts on how much the others paid,” he added.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said nobody was kidnapped at Ibusa on Saturday, when contacted by Vanguard, adding that the hoodlums who went to the Admiralty Neighbourhood Estate on that day were chased away by soldiers before the Police got there.
Onovwakpoyeya held that the Police were keeping vigil in the area, saying that some hoodlums, who went to attack the area, Thursday, last week, were also repelled by the Police.