…says N500m ransom was paid
•Ebikeme: I never acted my abduction
Militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has alleged fraud in the recent kidnap of Ebikeme Clark, son of prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.
It said the kidnap was an orchestrated plot by Ebikeme himself, even as it alleged that the sum of N500 million ransom was paid by the Delta State Government from its security votes to secure his release.
MEND, in an electronic mail issued yesterday morning and signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, further alleged that the N500 million ransom was shared amongst all those involved in the scam.
The statement read:”The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has confirmed that the kidnap of Mr Ebikeme Clark, the son of Chief E.K Clark, was actually a clever orchestrated fraud masterminded by Ebikeme who stage-managed his own abduction.
“A ransom of N500 million was paid by the Delta State Government from its security vote and was shared amongst all those involved in this scam,” the militant group said.
The statement accused Ebikeme of behaving like his father (Chief Clark), who according to MEND, was among those who mooted the idea of amnesty, describing it as a fraud that has only made billionaires of few persons to the detriment of the millions of impoverished people of the Niger Delta region.
It also accused the Delta State Police Command of complicity in the ‘phantom abduction’ and flayed the denial of the security outfit that no ransom was paid before Ebikeme was freed.
“Mr Ebikeme is following in the footsteps of his father, where the senior Clark is amongst those that hatched the fraudulent Niger Delta Amnesty Programme which has only made billionaires of a few thugs and him, at the detriment of millions of impoverished indigenes and the peace and security in the region.
“It is rather unfortunate that in a desperate bid for relevance and extra funds to maintain a private jet, certain unscrupulous persons, including the Delta State Police, will conspire to deceive Nigerians with a phantom abduction, release of the so-called hostage, influence over kidnapers and arrest of suspects and denying the payment of a ransom which has already been shared,” the MEND statement declared.
Ebikeme was kidnapped last Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by unknown gunmen at a private construction site (University of Technology) owned by his father in Delta State.
The gunmen later demanded for a ransom of N60 million. Following his abduction, Ijaw youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council, IYC led by former militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemepulo, alias Tompolo, had formed a search team, combing the creeks of Bayelsa and Delta states to rescue the younger Clark.
The efforts of the search team yielded results as Ebikeme was released on the midnight of Saturday, April 5, in Bayelsa State.
However, Ebikeme berated MEND for claiming that he stage managed his abduction. He said that there was no group as MEND, even as he described the claim as baseless.
Reacting to MEND’s statement that his abduction was a ruse, Ebikeme told our correspondent in Warri yesterday that the kidnappers had no option than to release him after Tompolo made frantic efforts to get his captors arrested. He said, should his abductors fail to release him as ordered by Tompolo, “their entire family members would have been killed.”