According to Nationonlineng.net, without fear of President Goodluck Jonathan, ten gunmen sneaked into Otuoke, his hometown in Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, and whisked away his first cousin, Chief Inengite Nitabai. In a daring move, the heavily armed men stormed the expansive compound of Nitabai located before Otuoke bridge, off Otu-Okpoti-Ogbia Road and isolated their target without a gunshot.
Nitabai said to be about 70 years old is a compound chief in Jonathan’s Ebele family. He has been acting like a father to the President since Jonathan’s real biological father died, sources from the family said. Commotion and panic reigned supreme in the compound of Nitabai when the bandits gained access to the area between 8 and 9pm on Sunday.
The victim, his wife, his wife’s sister and three of his children were in the house when the assailants stormed the compound. His wife’s sister, 37-year-old Akinobebh Jin, said Silas, one of the sons of the victim first sighted the criminals and raised the alarm.
“We came back from somewhere around 8pm. Silas was at the verandah doing his assignment while my inlaw, my sister and two other siblings were in the living room together. After some time, Silas came shouting, saying that some people had just entered into the compound. As we sprang on our feet, we were confused because we didn’t know where to run to. Shortly after that, five heavily armed men entered into the house, barking. We ran into the kitchen and some of them followed us to the kitchen. They asked us to lie down. They hit my sister on the head and asked her to give them money. They also hit my inlaw with the butt of their guns and demanded money. They threatened to shoot us. My sister told them she had small money and they followed her to the bedroom where she gave them money”,she said.
Jin said after collecting about N400,000, the gunmen still took their victim forcefully into a car parked at the compound. She said the car a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) belonged to the victim and was parked in the compound.
“Five of the gunmen entered the compound while five others were hanging around the premises. They locked us inside the house before leaving”, she said.
Jin who sustained injury on her finger said she was yet to recover from the shock. There was uneasy calm around the area. A detachment of Joint Task Force(JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, and operatives of the police had been deployed to the place. Sympathisers were seen trooping into the compound while the wife of the victim was said to have gone to the clinic for treatment.
People were seen in groups discussing the incident just as a road leading to Otuoke had been cordoned off by soldiers. It was learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, and the Deputy Commander, JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpa, had earlier visited the crime scene. Opara said he and his men had murdered sleep since the incident happened. He said the police alerted other sister security agencies and prompted them to swing into action. He added that two gunboats had been stationed at the Onuebum waterside disclosing that the police had so far patrolled Edebiri, Kiambiri, Anyama and Ogobiri creeks.Opara revealed that two suspects had been arrested so far.
“The other two suspects saw my men and ran away. We know them and we will get them”, he said.
The Media Coordinator, JTF, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the incident and said the assailants abandoned the victim’s car at the Onuebum community water front. The confirmation showed that the assailants must have escaped with their victim into the creeks through Onuebum waterways. Nwachukwu said:
“Information available to me is that a certain Chief Nengite Nitabai was abducted by about 10 gunmen yesterday at about 9pm at Otuoke community in Ogbia LGA using his private vehicle.“The vehicle was later recovered at Onuebum community water front. The Deputy Commander, JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpa and a team of security agents have visited the crime scene and investigation is in progress to unmask the kidnappers and rescue the victim”.
Further investigations in Otuoke revealed that there were two Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) of the Nigerian Army stationed in the community. While one and detachment of soldiers have been guarding the mansion of President Jonathan, the other was stationed at the former hotel belonging to the wife of the President.