Fears over safety of Sylva’s abducted uncle
FEARS have continued to mount over the safety and whereabouts of Pa Benson Adigio-Eseni, the 86-year-old abducted uncle of the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva. The fears heightened on Friday after the kidnappers refused to release their victim despite receiving N5million ransom. A member of the victim’s family told our correspondent that the kidnappers were paid N5million ransom last Sunday to set their father free. “They requested for N5million and we paid them last week. Since then, we have not seen our father. We have not heard from the kidnappers either. Even their telephone number is no longer connecting,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, said. The source added: “We have handed over our father’s matter to God. We don’t want to think negative.” The development, it was learnt, had thrown the family members of the octogenarian into confusion, raising suspicion about the real motives of the kidnappers. It will be recalled that Adigio-Eseni, an octogenarian uncle of Sylva, was seized and whisked away at about 2am on July 28 in Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area, by gunmen who rode in a speedboat. The hoodlums were said to have shot sporadically before abducting their victim. The kidnappers failed to contact their victim’s family two weeks after abducting him, raising fears about the safety of Adigio-Eseni. Little respite came the way of the family when the kidnappers reportedly called, demanded N45million ransom and allowed their victim to speak to one of the family members. It was learnt that the kidnappers negotiated with the family members and agreed to collect N5million ransom. A family member, who identified himself simply as Fabo, had said the attitude of the kidnappers was beyond their estimation. with his phone.” The 70-year-old wife of Adigio-Eseni begged the kidnappers to let her husband go. “I miss my husband. Until l see him, l won’t be at rest. I am begging the kidnappers to set him free for me. They should at least consider his old age. Since they took him away from me, my life has not been the same again,” she said. In a similar development, the negotiator handling the case of the abducted mother of the Rivers Commissioner for Transport, Mr, George Tolofari, has been detained by the kidnappers. The negotiator, it was learnt, was appointed by some ex-militant leaders to deliver N5million ransom to the kidnappers in the creeks to enable them release the woman. An ex-militant leader and Chairman of the Leadership for Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) Pastor Reuben Wilson, confirmed that the negotiator was being detained by the kidnappers. The commissioner’s mother was reportedly abducted from her Victoria Street, Port Harcourt, residence about three weeks ago by gunmen. “One of the kidnappers called me and told me they won’t harm the negotiator, but that they were not satisfied with N5million ransom. “He asked me to tell the commissioner to bring N150million out of the N200million released by the government to secure the freedom of the woman. He threatened to kill the woman if the money was not paid,” he said. He also suspected that their father would have been abducted for political reasons. According to him, the political enemies to Sylva could have carried out the criminal act to get at the former governor who is now a leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state. Apart from being his uncle, Sylva, according to Fabo, was very close to their father. Fabo disclosed that their dad was suffering from High Blood Pressure (HBP) and was on drugs before the incident happened, adding that the octogenarian was abducted without his drugs and his mobile phone. He said: “My dad was down with high blood pressure. He was only being sustained by his drugs. They didn’t go with the drug neither did they go
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