There was pandemonium in President Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Sunday as ten heavily armed gunmen kidnapped Chief Inengite Nitabai, the President’s first cousin.
Street Journal also gathered that Chief Nitabai has been like the father figure to the President since he lost his father some years ago.
He was abducted at his residence around 9 pm on Sunday.
Family sources disclosed that the victim, his wife, three of their children as well as his sister in-law were in the house at the time of the attack.
The 37-year-old sister in-law, Akinobebh Jin, disclosed that Silas, one of the sons of the victim first sighted the criminals and raised the alarm.
She said “we came back from somewhere around 8pm. Silas was at the verandah doing his assignment while my in-law, my sister and two other siblings were in the living room together.
Silas came shouting and saying that some people had entered into the compound. As we sprang on our feet, we were confused because we didn’t know where to run to.
Shortly after, five heavily armed men entered into the house, barking. We ran into the kitchen and some of them followed us to the kitchen. They asked us to lie down. They hit my sister on the head and asked her to give them money.
They also hit my in-law with the butt of their guns and demanded money. They threatened to shoot us. My sister told them she had small money and they followed her to the bedroom where she gave them money”.
After collecting the money, they took the septuagenarian chief and forced him into one of the vehicles in the compound.
Jin also stated that “five of the gunmen entered the compound while five others were hanging around the premises. They locked us inside the house before leaving”.
Jin who sustained injury at her finger said she had yet to recover from the shock.
Security agents including men of the Operation Pulo Shield have been drafted to the area while armed soldiers could be seen on the road leading to Otuoke.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Hillary Okpara disclosed that measures have been put in place to secure the release of the victim. .He said two gunboats have been stationed at the Onuebum waterside while the police continue to patrol Edebiri, Kiambiri, Anyama and Ogobiri creeks.
He also disclosed that two suspects have been arrested so far. The CP said “the other two suspects saw my men and ran away. We know them and we will get them”.
The Media Coordinator, JTF, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the incident and said the assailants abandoned the victim’s vehicle at the Onuebum community water front, an indication that the kidnappers might have taken the victim through the Omuebum waterways into the creeks.
“Information available to me is that a certain Chief Nengite Nitabai was abducted by about 10 gunmen yesterday at about 9pm at Otuoke community in Ogbia LGA using his private vehicle.
The vehicle was later recovered at Onuebum community water front. The Deputy Commander, JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpa and a team of security agents have visited the crime scene and investigation is in progress to unmask the kidnappers and rescue the victim”, Nwachukwu said.
This is the second time an attack would be carried out on the President’s family members. On the eve of the 2007 elections, gunmen had stormed the home of Dr Jonathan, who was then a Vice Presidential candidate apparently in a bid to abduct his mother. She however outsmarted the assailants and escaped on a boat.