Chief Inengite Nitabai, President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle and adopted father, has been rescued by the police after 18 days in the kidnappers’ den.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his captors, Nitabai, a former university lecturer, said his abductors fed him with garri and oil for the 18 days he was held captive.
He also said he was blindfolded throughout the period.
He said he was almost submerged in a swamp while the kidnappers were moving him from one spot to another because he was blindfolded.
The already emanciated man, said, “My ordeal in the hands of my captors was simply horrendous.
“I was blindfolded for those 18 days. So I did not see my abductors.
“They fed me with garri and oil. There was a day they were asking me some foolish questions and I kept quiet. They were upset and beat me up. It was a miracle I did not die that day.”
Inengite said he had yet to know the motive behind his abduction.
When reminded that it could be because of his relation with President Jonathan, he answered that he could not rule it out.
The septuagenarian, who had lectured at Rivers State University beforing moving to the Niger Delta University, where he retired, was abducted by 10 gunmen about 9pm on February 23, 2014.
It took about four days before the kidnappers opened up channel of communication with the family.
In one of those discussions, they demanded ransom of N500m from the victim’s family.
The kidnappers were said to be infuriated when the family members said they could only afford N30m.
The offer was rejected by the kidnappers, allegedly saying the amount was “unpresidential.”
However, the police asked the family not to pay any ransom. This was also supported by the Ijaw Youth Council.
The police later arrested the father of a man suspected to be the mastermind of the abduction.
The arrest of the mastermind’s father was said to caused confusion in the captors’ camp.
The police were said to have used the development to hit them.
A police source, who craved anonymity, said the arrest of the mastermind’s father weakened the abductors bargaining edge.
It was learnt that it was in the midst of the confusion that the police anti-kidnapping squad closed in on them.
It was further learnt that the kidnappers abandoned their captive when they sighted the police.
The Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Hillary Opara, said Nitabai was rescued in the early hours of Thursday.
Opara said Nitabai was rescued at Ogboma, off Odioma in Brass Local Government Area.
He said the kidnappers abandoned their captive when the police anti-kidnapping operatives closed in on them (kidnappers) in an operation that took place between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Opara said, “Since Chief Inengite Nitabai was kidnapped, we have been working with other security stakeholders to rescue the victim.
“He was rescued at about 12.05am on Thursday. We applied professionalism in the way and manner we handled the operation.
“I thank the Nitabais for heeding the advice of the police not to pay ransom.
“I also wish to thank my boss in Zone 5 and the Inspector General of Police for their advice and not stampeding us.”
The commissioner also commended Governor Seriake Dickson, who he said, funded many trips that they undertook in the course of the rescue.
Opara said the police had fortified the Ogbia area, which had been the hotbed of many kidnappings.
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