Jonathan's Cousin Regains Freedom 17 Days after Abduction

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The 70-year-old cousin of President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Inengite Nitabai, was yesterday released by his abductors, after spending 17 days in captivity.

His release was subsequent to the payment of a ransom, even though the police in the state claimed no money was paid.

The chief was released at Ogboma, a fishing camp in neighbouring Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Narrating his ordeal to newsmen Thursday at the state police command, Nitabai cried: 'I was kicked and beaten with a gun in the kidnappers' den.

' Nitabai was abducted by 10 gunmen from his home in Otuoke on Sunday, February 23.

According to him, the armed men tied his hands, blindfolded him and tortured him in order to make him convince President Goodluck Jonathan and other family members to pay the N500 million ransom demanded by the abductors.

'I thank God for keeping me alive.
I was made to sleep on the bare floor and fed with Garri and red oil for three weeks in the bush.

I was tortured and beaten with guns and kicked on the floor,' he said.

Nitabai said however that the reason for his abduction was not made known to him.

The state Police Commissioner, Mr.
Hilary Opara, while presenting Nitabai to journalists, said the anti-kidnapping squad of the command led by one Chris Nwogwu secured the release of the septuagenarian.

He said the gunmen had abandoned their victim in Ogboma off Odioma in Brass Local Government Area of the state.

Opara said the police was very professional in the way they carried out the operations that led to Nitabai's freedom.

He insisted no ransom was paid to the kidnappers.
In another incident, the operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) yesterday foiled an attempt by some gunmen to kidnap the maternal first cousin to the president, Miss Patience Agbani.

Agbani, 35, was rescued from her abductors at her business premises at Akemplai in Ogbia Local Government Area by soldiers attached to Setraco Construction Company.

Confirming the development, the Media Coordinator of JTF, Colonel Oyenma Nwachukwu, said a distress call was received from Agbani by the soldiers at the Akemplai site of the road construction work and a rescue operation was launched by the soldiers.

Despite their success at foiling the kidnapping of Agbani, gunmen yesterday attacked Nigeria Agip Oil Company's (NAOC) tugboats in Bayelsa and abducted two captains.

The incident, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday at 1.

30 am, triggered a security patrol by the marine units of the police and JTF.

The tugboats were identified as MV Ebizar and MV Smoke, but the identity and nationals of the victims could not be ascertained.

The incident occurred in an area known as Peter's town in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The tugboats, it was learnt, were in transit from Nembe to Port Harcourt when they came under attack.