■ Ransom already slashed to N100m –Security source
By ADE ALADE
The police and indeed other security agencies were again caught unawares by dare-devil kidnappers who on Thursday, effortlessly abducted another high profile target in the person of Mrs Margaret Emefiele, wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele. Mrs Emefiele was abducted while travelling along the Benin-Agbor Road in Delta State.
Saturday Sun gathered that Mrs Emefiele was abducted in broad daylight on her way to attend a ceremony in Agbor, Delta State. Heavily armed hefty men who overpowered her few security details to get away with their target, reportedly ambushed her moderate convoy. It could not be confirmed as at press time, the number of casualties recorded in the ensuing melee.
But a source said one of her security aides was shot dead in the process.
It was further gathered that the abductors had within hours of the incident contacted the victim’s husband for a ransom of N2 billion because of the caliber of their target. The source who pleaded not to be named stated that they have since then stuck to their demand while the family has reportedly been pleading for a reduction to an affordable amount. As at Friday night, a reliable security source told Saturday Sun that the “abductors have agreed to release the woman if they are paid N100 million while some family members are still pleading for N50million.”
Though Saturday Sun got wind of the incident on Thursday evening, the Police and CBN officials denied knowledge of such a development. But by Friday evening, when they were again confronted with the details of the incident, one of the top officials in CBN confirmed the kidnap but pleaded not to be named, saying “I don’t even have the details myself but it is true madam was kidnapped on Thursday in Delta.”
A close friend of the CBN Governor who also confirmed the incident pleaded that the story be dropped so that the victim’s life would not be put at risk by her abductors “who just want a quick secret deal that would fetch them millions of naira” The source said “her kidnappers have been warning against any publicity and security agents’ involvement.”
Efforts to speak with Mr Emefiele personally didn’t sail through as some friends and family members around him said he was too distraught to speak to the media about the incident
Nigeria now ranks globally among countries where kidnapping is rampant.
On the list of countries with rampant cases of kidnapping are Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Venezuela, Mexico, Haiti, Russia, Ecuador, Brazil, Philippines and Colombia.
From the high and mighty to the lowly in the society, no one seems to be insulated from the menace. From the mother of former Coordinating Minister of Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Bishop Kattey, Mike Ozekhome, Mikel Obi, Pete Edochie, Nkem Owoh and Joseph Yobo, Christian Obodo to the teachers and the primary school children that were kidnapped recently in Edo State, the story is the same. Ransom is demanded and paid before victims are released. In most cases, victims shy away from volunteering information on how much they pay as ransom while security agencies more often than not, deny that ransom was paid before the eventual release of victims.
There were indications late yesterday night that the ransome had been paid.
As at 9 pm yesterday, the Police in Edo State was yet to respond to the series of enquiries sent to them for confirmation of the incident.