Kidnapped Contractor: Govt Won’t Pay N50m Ransom
The Delta State Government has ruled out ransom payment for the kidnapped contractor Chief Emeka Eze. Suspected kidnappers of the Managing Director of Mica Construction Firm are said to be demanding a ransom of N50million from the Delta State Government to release the victim who was abducted a day before the inspection of the Obomkpa road project by Governor Okowa.
A reliable source told XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE that the suspected kidnappers had called the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Work, Delta State on Tuesday asking for the money as condition to release the captive. But a top government official who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned ruled out the payment of ransom, saying efforts were being made to secure the release of the kidnapped Contractor.
State Commissioner for Works, Engr. James Augoye who confirmed on Tuesday the ransom demand said that the kidnappers had earlier called the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works Tuesday morning to make the demand. He said he was at the project site on Monday for an inspection ahead of the Governor’s visit on Tuesday, only to be informed that gunmen seized the contractor 10 minutes after he had left the site.
Augoye, while describing the incident as unfortunate, said efforts are being made to secure the unconditional release of the contractor. He appealed that the contractor be released in order not to impede the fast moving infrastructural development in the area.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State had on Tuesday hurriedly inspected the road project which have suffered many setbacks in the past due largely to an alleged diversion of the budgetary allocations to the road by political leaders from that axis, right from the previous administrations.
The governor despite the security challenges had visited the area on Tuesday to inspect the road but didn’t spend more than a minute before moving to the next community of Ukwu-Nzu said to be harboring some grievances over the project.
Meanwhile, local police in the area have been accused of alleged dereliction of duty resulting to the incident, with the call that the State police commander should be removed.
Sources said that police failed to provide security for the indigenous firm as requested. But police source have since denied the culpability of the police in the area in providing security to the firm. “The contractor actually sent some of his workers including a limping driver to ask for security.
They were told to apply through writing to enable the police authority kick start the process of engaging policemen for the operation, but they refused to follow protocol and instead left. They left around 3pm, only for the station to be alerted on the kidnap of the contractor around 6pm”, the police source said.
According to him, the police is closing up on the kidnappers, having seen a clue on how the contractor was dragged a distance into the bush before whisked away by a motorcycle.
He said that the kidnappers were suspected to be boys from Ukwu-Nzu, alleging that most of them that were previously arrested and prosecuted were later released by the courts and they are now back in the local government to torment people.
“Though Obomkpa is within the jurisdiction of Onicha-Olona Divisional Police Station, we are all teaming up to rescue the victim unhurt”, he stated.
Obomkpa is a community where a PDP chieftain, Chief Nkem Okwuofu hails from and holds sway as a political leader. The road project has suffered several setbacks in the past but
Governor Okowa brought a renewed hope and succour to the people when he reawarded the project.