Suspected Fulani herdsmen abduct ex-council chair, two others
Gunmen in military camouflage storm Epe farm, kidnap Corps member, others
Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have reportedly abducted the immediate past transition committee chairman of Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State, Chief Friday Akpoyibo, along with two others.
Sources disclosed to journalists yesterday in Ughelli that Akpoyibo and two others were kidnapped along Auchi-Abuja road on Sunday on their way to Abuja.
A younger brother and another close ally of Akpoyibo, who was traveling with him, were also abducted by the arms-wielding herdsmen who allegedly blocked the expressway with their cattle.
However, a female passenger, who was said to have been traveling with the victims, was left behind by the abductors.
Akpoyibo’s ex-aide who spoke under strict condition of anonymity said: “He was going to Abuja to attend the inauguration of the recently appointed executives of the Niger Delta River Basin Development Authority when the hoodlums struck. They were taken into the bush after being disposed of their personal items.”
Akpoyibo is a younger brother to retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo.
When contacted, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, said he has not been informed of the incident.
It would be recalled that on Sunday afternoon, a group of suspected Fulani herdsmen also attacked travellers on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The herdsmen, about 20 in number, were said to have launched two coordinated attacks on the expressway on Sunday afternoon.
However, in another development, a 10-man gang of kidnappers kitted in military camouflage have reportedly stormed a farmland at the Epe axis of Lagos State and abducted a National Youth Service Corps member, Ifeoluwa Olabiyi, and three other men.
This is coming on the heels of the abduction of three female students and six members of staff of Nigeria Turkish International College (NTIC), Ogun State, who were kidnapped from their hostel two weeks ago.
The armed kidnappers were said to have stormed the Tanda farm and after shooting sporadically into the air to avert any rescue attempt, made away with four persons. Already, the kidnappers have asked for a ransom of N5 million each, making it a total of N20 million for all four persons.
According to sources, the farmland was the same one the kidnappers had struck sometime last year and abducted some farmers.
The source said: “This time around, they had come from the creeks and stormed the farm. They were heavily armed, so no one could resist them. They left with three farmers and the NYSC returnee, who had finished her service year and was employed at the farm.
“She was employed at the farm about two weeks ago after completing her youth service. She is a graduate of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Already, the fiancé is distraught and is alarmed at the whopping sum demanded as ransom.”
However, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Fatai Owoseni, who debunked the news, said he personally visited the supposed scene of kidnapping. He said he had gone alongside his men for a confidence patrol in that area and had even visited some companies to assure them of safety.
Meanwhile, another police source that was on the CP’s entourage, who could neither debunk nor confirm the news, said it might have happened in Ogun State and not Lagos.
In a related development, a suspected spy to members of the gang that abducted students and staff of the Nigerian Turkish International College has been arrested.
The suspect, simply identified as Turkey, was arrested by a combined team of policemen from the Inspector General of Police Intelligent Response Team (IRT) and members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in Isheri.
It was gathered that the police had traced the abductors to some conversation between them and the arrested suspected informants of the gang. ‘Turkey’ had initially escaped from the community but was forced to return, after some of his kinsmen were arrested.
Also, suspected kidnappers of a couple, Blessing Ejovwokeoghere Dukuye and his wife, Joy Ese Dukuye, along DSC Roundabout in Effurun, Delta State on New Year Day, have been arrested.
A statement by the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Benin City, Emeka Iheanacho identified the two suspects as Emmanuel Ogbeni and Osimi Enakhirua.
He said the couple was kidnapped around 12:45 a.m. on January 1, while returning home from the cross-over service.