• Demand N200m ransom
From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa
Kidnappers have abducted six expatriates off the coast of Bayelsa State and are demanding N200 million ransom. The incident had caused panic among expatriates on board vessels operating in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, however, issued a statement saying its three nationals had already been released, but it provided no details regarding the circumstances and Nigerian security officials were not available to confirm the development.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, Mr. Daniel Iworiso- Markson in his reaction to the resurgence of kidnapping activities had fingered disgruntled politicians who had lost out to Dickson as the brain behind kidnap activities in the state with the sole agenda to portray the Dickson administration as not capable of protecting lives and property in the state.
Dickson, in his determination to end the scourge, had recently assented to a law that stipulated death penalty for those found culpable by the court for kidnapping. Investigations revealed that pirates along the coastal area of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area carried out latest act of kidnapping.
Security sources said the those abducted included three Ukrainians, two Indians and one Russian who were on board a vessel Armanda Tuah belonging to Century Group of Companies. Checks indicated that no fewer than 15 crew were on board the vessel when the suspected kidnappers intercepted it at Koluama. Realizing that foreigners were on board, they ordered them out and took them away.
One of the kidnappers was said to have called the company with the mobile phone of one of the victims and demanded a ransom of N200 million. Reliable sources said the police have swung into action to arrest the perpetrators and their sponsors to serve as a deterrent that the government was serious with its declaration of zero tolerance for crime and criminality.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Fidelis Odunna, who confirmed the incident, said the police were on top of the situation. While confirming the demand for ransom, he assured expatriates working in the state to go about their normal business, saying the police would apprehend those behind the latest kidnapping.
“One Perekeni Emmanuel, a security supervisor to Century Group of Companies based in Lagos reported that its company vessel, Armanda Tuah 101 with 15 crew was attacked by some armed pirates somewhere around Koloama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area in Bayelsa State. Six of the crew, who are foreigners were abducted and taken to an unknown destination.
Three of those abducted are from Ukraine, two from India and one from Russia. One of the kidnappers called to demand N200 million. Effort is in progress to arrest the kidnappers,” the PPRO said.