There was panic in Otuoke, the community of President Goodluck Jonathan in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Sunday night as the 70 years old Chief Inengite Nitabai believed to be the foster father of the president, was kidnapped.
He was kidnapped by 10 armed gunmen who invaded his compound, located after the bridge, off Otu-Okpoti Ogbia Road.
Checks indicated that Nitabai, who is the compound’s chief in Jonathan’s Ebele family, is also the head.
He is said to be a cousin to the president and had been acting as the president’s father since his biological father died in 2007.
According to sources, Chief Nitabai was with his wife, his three children and some relatives when the gunmen invaded the house.
Chief Nitabai’s sister-in-law revealed that one of the victim’ s sons, Silas, sighted the armed men and raised the alarm but it was too late.
“We came back from somewhere around 8pm. Silas was at the verandah doing his assignment while my in-law, my sister and two other siblings were in the living room. After some time, Silas came shouting and saying that some people had just entered the compound. As we sprang up on our feet, we were confused because we did not know where to run to”
A security source said the armed men used their victim’s car to escape from the community and the vehicle was later recovered at the waterfront of a nearby community, Onuebum.
The source said the Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Commodore Ime Ekpa and some security men had visited the location to assess the crime scene, saying investigation was in progress to arrest the kidnappers and rescue the victim.
The spokesman of the state police command, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, who confirmed the incident, however denied knowledge of any close family tie of the abducted chief with President Jonathan,
He said preliminary report available had identified the kidnappers and one suspect was in police custody.
Akhigbe said the police report showed that the abducted community leader had made a report at the Kolo Police Station on the illegal sale of his land by some unidentified persons,
”After it was discovered, the abducted man insisted that the culprits refund the buyer his money and leave his land alone.He was later kidnapped.
“We have identified those involved and we are on their trail. One of the suspects is in our custody. The vehicle also had been recovered. I cannot establish the relationship between the abducted chief and Mr. President,” he said.
From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa