Ebikeme Clark: Delta Govt Dismisses MEND's Allegations
SAN FRANCISCO, April 08, (THEWILL) - The Delta State Government has dismissed the allegations by the outlawed militia group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), that it parted with the sum of N500 million as ransom to free Ebikeme, the son of Chief Edwin Clark.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovouzorie Macualay, on Tuesday said the state government has a policy never to pay ransom to kidnappers and Ebikeme's abduction was not an exemption to the policy.
The statement described MEND's claims as a "blackmail" not only against the state government but to Chief Edwin Clark as well as the Federal Government amnesty programme, saying "the volume of money being mentioned, (N500 million) made the allegation very foolish.
" The statement read in part; "The attention of the Delta State Government has been drawn to a release by a group called MEND, alleging that the Delta State Government parted with the sum of N500m as ransom for the release of Mr.
Ebikeme Clarke, son of Chief E.
Clarke, who was kidnapped and released a few days ago.
"In the said statement, it was also alleged that the kidnap was staged managed by Ebikeme Clarke and the police to swindle the State Government of such an amount.
"The Delta State Government wishes to State categorically that it did not part with any money as ransom for the release of Mr.
Ebikeme Clark "It is the policy of the Government not to pay or encourage the payment of ransom by families as this encourages more kidnappings.
"The state government has had previous cases of high profile kidnappings that the victims have been kept much longer than that of Ebikeme.
The government did not pay any ransom.
What then is so special about Mr.
Ebikeme Clark that will make the State Government pay ransom?.
"Secondly the volume of money being mentioned, N500m, makes the allegation very foolish for anyone who knows how government runs and the logistics of that volume of fund movement, considering the fact that there were only two working days during the period.
"From the statement by the so-called MEND, it is obvious that they are out not just to blackmail the State Government but also Chief E.
Clark and the amnesty program of the Federal Government.
"The Delta State Government wishes to advise the people of the Niger Delta, especially those still hiding under the umbrella of MEND, that the tactics of blackmail, falsehood, rumour mongering and intimidation in the region are gone.
The region is in a phase of infrastructure and human capital development which will ultimately ensure peace in the region.
Let all hands be on deck.