Kidnapped MP’s father freed in Nigeria

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The kidnapped 70-year-old father of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly (parliament) in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state has been freed unharmed by his captors, the police said.

Lawrence Nwile, father of lawmaker Charles Nwile, was taken away by unknown gunmen who stormed his residence 5 October.

The captors later demanded a ransom of 70 million naira (US$560,000) from his son, an amount they later reduced to 25 million naira (us$200,000) and then 2 million naira (US$16,000).

Sources close to the state police command said no ransom was paid for Nwile’s release.

The local press said the old man was freed at the weekend following the arrest of a suspect, Johnbull Robinson, said to be the leader of his abductors.

The report said following the arrest, security agents issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the rest of the gang to free the old man or face an attack

Two others, the mother an MP in Nigeria’s oil rich Bayelsa and the father of another lawmaker also in the state, have yet to be released by the captors.

Kidnapping for ransom has become rampant in the oil producing Niger Delta region, where criminal gangs have infiltrated the ranks of militant campaigning for a better deal for the impoverished oil producing communities.

The abductors have recently targeted children and parents of prominent citizens whom they believed could afford to pay a ransom to secure freedom for their loved ones.

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