Niger Delta rebels, who kidnapped the wife of Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Edmund Daukoru, last week in Port Harcourt, have continued to ignore requests by the government to release her unconditionally. Her kidnap was one of many kidnap cases that rocked the Niger Delta last week.
The militants are asking for N500 million for her release. Security chiefs have however stormed Port Harcourt but are in the dark on how to locate the former minister’s wife and other hostages that were captured. The rebels stormed her shopping mall, ransacked the place and then took her captive, firing gun shots in the air.
Reports claim that the militants have made it clear that the freedom of the former minister’s wife is dependent on the payment of ransom or the disbandment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Nembe or both. Security agencies have also been franctically searching for an employee of Agip, Charles James, who was abducted by gunmen on his way from church on Monday night and are asking for a ransom of N15 million for his release. Also a Commissioner in the State’s Independent Electoral Commission, Afinyetogha Igoni, was kidnapped last week and a N50 million release fee is also demanded.
The Rivers State Government Governor Rotimi Amaechi has vowed to see to her release amid worries that the militants are again painting the state in bad light. He has directed security agents to resolve all issues around hostage taking and the Conflict Resolution Committee have been in talks with the militants.
According to the Information Commissioner, Ogbonna Nwuke, “The government has urged the people of the state not to panic over the recent security challenges, occasioned by activities of kidnappers, as security operatives have been directed to step up surveillance activities in all parts of the state.”