Former ambassador to Venezuela, Senator Felix Oboro, has been freed by his abductors after 23 days in captivity.
His family said they paid N11 million to the kidnappers before they released him on Saturday.
Oboro is a one-time Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG) as well as a former Senator who represented Bayelsa West Senatorial district and currently a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State.
He was kidnapped on Friday, September 4, 2020 at his hometown, Elemebiri in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that gunmen numbering about 15 stormed his residence, 24 hours after he returned to the community.
The kidnappers, who were said to be dressed in army uniforms, shot into the air before whisking him away.
It was gathered that the kidnappers, after abducting him, saw a bank alert balance of over N5m in his account and demanded a ransom payment of N50m which they later reduced to N11m.
A stepson of the former envoy, Tuebi Sapre-Obi, confirmed Oboro’s release on Saturday, saying that a three-man delegation of family members travelled on boat to drop the N11m ransom demanded by the gunmen.
Sapre-Obi said “contrary to the expectation of the family, Father (Felix Oboro) is strong and in a healthy state. When the news of his release came, everyone was happy and jubilating.”
Reacting to the development, a former Secretary of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Comrade Morris Alagoa and the National spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, (IYC), Comrade Ebilade Eerekefe, condemned the abduction of the elder statesman.
They called on the security agencies to ensure the arrest of those who whisked him away.
Alagoa described the abduction and release of Ambassador Oboro as a very sad commentary.
Ekerefe on his part expressed concern over the development and condemned the abduction of Oboro, describing him as as a well-respected Ijaw leader and an elders statesman who had served the Ijaw nation and Nigeria in different capacities.
He stated: “It’s quite unfortunate that he was treated unfairly by his abductors. He does not deserve the kind of treatment he’s going through considering his health challenges as an elderly man.
“The IYC will beef up its intelligence gathering system within the clans to support the security agencies’ effort at bringing the kidnappers to book.”
The Bayelsa State Police Command led by CP Mike Okoli were said to have arrested possible suspects in Imo and Bayelsa states following phone calls kidnappers after tracking Felix Oboro’s number.
But the two suspects from Owerri and Yenagoa were said to have been released after interrogation showed they were mistakenly telephoned by the kidnappers.
The police command in the state had a few days ago, through its spokesman, SP Asinim Butswat, assured Oboro’s family of his safe return, saying CP Okoli was on top of the matter to ensure freedom for Oboro.