Gunmen abduct Bayelsa commissioner, Delta priests’ captors demand N100m ransom

GunmenGUNMEN yesterday abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Local Government, Madam Serefina Otazi.

The kidnap comes a day after a younger sister of Governor Seriake Dickson, Miss Nancy Dickson, was seized alongside her salesgirl in Yenagoa.

Her nephew, Patrick Oba, said the commissioner was captured at gunpoint in former President Goodluck Jonathan hometown of Otuoke while on her way to Ewoi Community in Ogbia Local Council of the state for a funeral at a gunpoint.

It was further gathered that at the time of the incident she was in company of two ladies and her driver who were unharmed before being forcibly whisked away to an unknown destination by the assailants.

Otazi was one-time Commissioner for Women Affairs and acting Chairman of Ogbia Local Council.

Contacted, spokesman for the state Police Command, Asinim Butswat, while confirming the abduction, said the force had intensified efforts to rescue the victim and apprehend the culprits.

Meanwhile, captors of two priests with the Issele Uku Diocese of the Catholic Church have demanded a N100 million ransom to effect the release of the Asaba-based clerics

The duo of Rev. Franklyn Odiaka, the Parish Priest of Catholic Church of Assumption (Zappa Parish), Asaba and Rev. Moses Nwanochei were last week abducted by suspected gunmen at Obior, Aniocha North Local Council of Delta State on their way from a ceremony in honor of the Bishop of Issele-Uku Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Michael Odogwu Elue.

A close source to the diocese who doesn’t want his name in print explained that the kidnappers had since open negotiations with some colleagues of the abducted priests and were demanding hefty ransom before the victims could be released.

But the spokesperson for the state police command, Celestina Kalu, who confirmed the incident, however, denied knowledge of the ransom demand, adding that the church was to lodge a formal report to the police.

“Up till now, the police command has not received a formal or official report from the Catholic Church,” Kalu wrote in reply to a text message from our correspondent seeking to know the latest development from the police angle.

Meanwhile, parishioners of Assumption Catholic Church have continued to sustain intensive spiritual prayers for God to protect the victims and grant them unconditional release from the den of the kidnappers.

Two prayers sessions were held yesterday after the usual Sunday masses. The first session which began by 2pm involved all women in the church while the second which began by 4.30pm involved all the parishioners.

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