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How kidnappers of British kid lost N50m ransome

Posted by By HENRY CHUKWURAH, Port Harcourt on 2007/07/12 | Views: 613 |

How kidnappers of British kid lost N50m ransome


Combined pressure from Rivers State government and some prominent Ijaw leaders forced the release of Baby Margaret Hill, the three-year-old British girl abducted last week.

Combined pressure from Rivers State government and some prominent Ijaw leaders forced the release of Baby Margaret Hill, the three-year-old British girl abducted last week.

The little girl, who was kidnapped Thursday last week near her school in Port Harcourt by five gunmen, was let go on Sunday night by her abductors.

It was gathered that government officials and the negotiators, after sizing up the hostage-takers, realized that they were ransome-seekers and went into several hours of negotiations with them.

The kidnappers, whose identities remained unknown, were said to have further been put under pressure by some notable indigenes of the Niger Delta who warned of the consequences of their action, including a possible raid on their hide-out.

Little Margaret was said to have been released at about 10.00 p.m. She was handed over at the Ogbakiri town, in Emuohua. Prior to the release, her parents, Mike and Oluchi Hill, had met Governor Omehia in Port Harcourt for nearly an hour during which time the governor assured them that everything would be done to ensure the release of their baby. The parents, during the talks with Omehia, reportedly broke down and shed tears uncontrollably.

"I know how you feel since your daughter was taken some days ago and we share your agony. The government and people of Rivers State are with you in these agonizing moment of your life and we pray that it comes to an end soon," Omehia had told them.
With the release of Margaret on Sunday, the governorís prayer has come to pass.

Speaking on the incident on Monday the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Mr. Emma Okah, told Daily Sun that the baby was set free without payment of any ransome even though the kidnappers had initially demanded a whopping N50 million pay off.
"They kept going down during the negotiation until it got to N3 million and the government eventually made it clear that it was not ready to pay for the girlís release," he said.
Mr. Okah said the kidnappers were later given an ultimatum to release the girl just as some Ijaw leaders mounted pressure and warned them that they risked an attack.

"It was the combined pressure that forced them to release the child without getting a kobo," Okah said.
It would be recalled that during a courtesy call on Governor Celestine Omehia, at the weekend, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, suggested that hostage-takers in the Niger Delta region should be regarded and treated as criminals.
Okiro who alleged that most of those involved in the ignoble act are non-indigenes of the region, said the perpetrators were doing so for selfish interests and warned that the police would no longer tolerate the ugly trend.

"We cannot allow a situation where people have been complaining about marginalization and now that government has woken up and wants to do something about the situation, some people are going against what the government is planning", he said.

The leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Forces (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujaheed Asari-Dokubo had like many other people criticized the action. He descridbed the abductors as criminals rather than freedom fighters.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.