By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
After spending 23 days in captivity, kidnapped former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Senator Felix Oboro, has regained his freedom.
The kidnappers were allegedly paid N11m ransom by the family of their victim before he was set free.
Senator Oboro aged 75, a one time Secretary to Bayelsa State Government (SSG) and former Senator who represented Bayelsa West Senatorial district and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress APC, was abducted on September 4, 2020, at his country home at Elemebiri, riverside town in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
He was reportedly seized twenty-four hours after he arrived the riverside settlement by gunmen clad in military fatigue who stormed his residence.
The invaders were said to have embarked on shooting spree ostensibly to instil fear in the locals and prevent any possible resistance before whisking away their victim in a speedboat to an unknown destination.
Though the kidnappers were said to have demanded N50m ransom, the amount was later reduced to N11m, a family source told Vanguard.
According to the source, the former envoy was released on Saturday to the three-man delegation of family members who travelled on a boat to drop the ransom along the Ayama-Oporoma waterway of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council.
“Contrary to our fear, daddy (Felix Oboro) is strong and in a healthy state. When the news of his release came, everyone was happy and jubilating. The State Police Commissioner was immediately informed on the telephone after his release,” the source added.
Reacting to the development, the former Secretary Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Bayelsa State chapter, Comrade Alagoa Morris and the National Spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Comrade Ebilade Erekefe condemned the abduction of the elder statesman, calling on the security agencies to ensure the arrest of those involved in the dastardly act.
While Morris described the abduction and release of Ambassador Oboro as a very sad commentary saying, ”from the kidnapping of oil workers and foreigners to our own very people. I saw this coming long ago when they were kidnapping others”
Spokesman of the IYC, Ekerefe expressed concern over the development and condemned the abduction.
“Senator Felix Oboro is a well-respected Ijaw leader and an elder-statesman who has served the Ijaw Nation and Nigeria in different capacities. It’s quite unfortunate that he was treated unfairly by his abductor. He does not deserve the kind of treatment he’s going through considering his health challenges as an elder.
“The IYC will beef up its intelligence gathering system within the clans to support the security agencies effort at bringing the kidnappers to book,” he said.
Contacted, Spokesman of the state police command, SP Asinim Bustwat confirmed the development saying “he has been released but the details are sketchy.”
It would be recalled that the Police had a few days ago through its Spokesman assured the family of the abducted envoy of his safe return insisting that the Commissioner of Police in the state CP Mike Okoli is on top of the matter to ensure the safe release of Ambassador Felix Oboro.