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Gunmen kidnap deputy governor’s dad

Posted by By FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa on 2007/12/11 | Views: 730 |

Gunmen kidnap deputy governor’s dad

Suspected gunmen in the early hours of Monday kidnapped Chief Simon Ebebi, 72-year-old father of the Bayelsa State deputy governor, in Alebiri, Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.

Suspected gunmen in the early hours of Monday kidnapped Chief Simon Ebebi, 72-year-old father of the Bayelsa State deputy governor, in Alebiri, Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.

This is coming barely 72 hours after some Niger Delta militants signed a peace pact with the federal and Bayelsa State governments suspending further attacks, hostage-taking and kidnappings.

The peace pact, signed last Thursday, had come under heavy criticisms, with many stakeholders, including the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), describing it as a means to waste taxpayers’ money.

According to investigations, the gunmen, numbering about 25, had invaded Alebiri community at about 3.00 a.m, in 20 speed boats, shooting sporadically to instill fear in the people.
Satisfied that there would be no resistance, they headed for the house of Chief Ebebi who is also the paramount ruler of the community.
He was said to be asleep when he was rudely woken up and whisked into the waiting speed boat which disappeared into the creeks.

Investigations revealed that youths of the community summoned courage and attempted to frustrate the kidnappers by engaging them in a gun duel but they could not match their superior firepower
When Daily Sun got to the official residence of the Deputy Governor, Hon Peremobowei Ebebi, at the Government House in Yenagoa, he was said to have traveled to Abuja on an official assignment.
Sources at the Government House confided in Daily Sun that the kidnappers had been trying to establish contact with Ebebi to make known their demands.

A statement from the office of the deputy governor’s Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Tambou, condemned the action of the kidnappers, stressing that it was an attempt to discredit the recently signed peace agreement.

The statement reads in part: “The paramount ruler of Alebiri, His Royal Highness, Chief Simon Ebebi and father of Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, was abducted last night by unidentified gunmen at his home town, Alebiri in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
“We condemn this unholy act and strongly believe that those behind it are mere criminals who are out to discredit the peace deal signed by militants with the Bayelsa State and Federal Governments.
“Security agents are already investigating the matter to unravel those behind the act. Anybody that has useful information on the matter should report to the nearest police station.”

The Chairman of Ekeremor Local Government Area, Hon. Robinson Etolor, also condemned the action and pleaded with the gunmen to release the old man, adding that the state and federal governments were taking urgent steps to address the economic well being of the region.
The state chairman of the Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Chief James Jephtah who described the incident as an act perpetrated by criminals and not militants, also condemned the attack.

According to him, the kidnap of Chief Ebebi had nothing to do with the recent peace agreement but a pure criminal act.
He explained that criminality could not be completely eradicated from the region, maintaining, however, that the militants could not betray the agreement they reached with the government.
Jephtah said that during the visit to the creeks, the militants demanded the release of Henry Okah, alias Jomo Gbomo, employment opportunities and provision of social infrastructure.

Those, he said, had been presented to the government and the youths had been told to be patient, stressing that the militants could not jettison all that and renege on their agreement.
To him, the kidnap of Chief Ebebi was purely political and therefore, should be treated as such.
As of the time of this report, the State Commissioner of Police Mr. Julian Okpaleke, was attending a security meeting at the Government House, but sources at the police headquarters said the police had already swung into action to unravel those behind the kidnap.

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