Ebikeme Clark: MEND Fingers Delta Govt, Police In Alleged N500m Ransom Scam

Source: thewillnigeria.com

It is ridiculous, says IYC .
It is a blackmail - Police .
It is false-Delta Govt SAN FRANCISCO, April 07, (THEWILL) - The outlawed Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has alleged that the Delta State Government was 'induced' to part with N500million in what it described as the stage-managed kidnap of Ebikeme, the son of Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, last week.

The militia group alleged that the ransom which came from the state's security vote was shared by some undisclosed key persons involved in the scam.

Ebikeme was seized by a gang of kidnappers at the site of the multi-million naira Edwin Clark University of Technology, Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State last Wednesday.

The octogenarian Ijaw leader had initiated the project and Ebikeme is the supervisor.

The gunmen, who stormed the site in a rickety Audi car, had commandeered Ebikeme into his Toyota Hiace bus and sped off amidst sporadic gunshots to a nearby jetty in the community.

He was later ferried in a speedboat to an unknown coastal community after which he was release on Saturday night at Ogriagbene in Bomadi LGA where they offered him N5,000 as transport fare though it couldn't be ascertained if the money was from the proceed of the ransom demanded.

However, both the police and the Ijaw radical youth group, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), have claimed that no ransom was paid though it couldn't be independently verified.

But in a statement alleging the complicity of the police in the incident, MEND said it can authoritatively confirmed that the purported kidnap of Ebikeme was "stage-managed" and the ransom paid was shared among those involved in the scam, including officers of the state police command.

MEND likened the kidnap saga to the alleged "fraudulent amnesty programme" which it alleged was hatched by Chief Clark to allegedly make "few billionaires" at the detriment of millions of impoverished indigenes as well as the peace and security in the Niger Delta region.

The statement signed by MEND's spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said it "has confirmed that the kidnap of Mr Ebikeme Clark, the son of Chief E.

K Clark, was actually a clever orchestrated fraud masterminded by Ebikeme, who stage-managed his own abduction.

" According to MEND,"A ransom of N500million was paid by the Delta State Government from its security vote and was shared amongst all those involved in this scam.

"Mr Ebikeme is following in the footsteps of his father where the Senior Clark is amongst those that hatched the fraudulent Niger Delta Amnesty Programme which has only made billionaires of a few thugs and him, at the detriment of millions of impoverished indigenes and the peace and security in the region.

"It is rather unfortunate that in a desperate bid for relevance and extra funds to maintain a private jet, certain unscrupulous persons, including the Delta State Police will conspire to deceive Nigerians with a phantom abduction, release of the so-called hostage, influence over kidnapers and arrest of suspects and denying the payment of a ransom which has already been shared.

" But in a swift reaction, the spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council, Eric Omare, dismissed MEND's claims, saying it is ridiculous for the militia group to claim such amount was paid as ransom.

Also reacting, the Delta State Police Command through its Police Public Relation Officer, Celestina Kalu, a deputy superintendent of police, denied the allegations, saying it was a "blackmail" against the Police Force.

She said six of the suspects who kidnapped Ebikeme have been arrested and would be paraded before newsmen.

The State's Commissioner of Information, Chike Ogeah, described the claims by MEND as a "big lie", saying the state government had absolutely nothing to do with that hostage situation.