By Sola Adebayo, Warri
Published: July 28 2008
Five persons have been arrested by the police in connection with the kidnap of the septuagenarian father of the Secretary to Delta State Government, Chief Arthur Okowa.
The suspects are currently being held at the headquarters of Zone 5 of the Nigeria Police Force, in Benin, the Edo State Capital.
The 76-year-old was abducted on Sunday, July 20, from his home in Boji-Boji Owa, soon after he returned from a church.
He regained his freedom on Friday after six days in captivity.
The old man was located at Agbor- Ewuru, in Ika South local government area of the state, where he was locked up in a room with his legs tied and his mouth taped.
However, our correspondent learnt that five of the suspected kidnappers have been apprehended by detectives attached to the zonal command of the police in Benin.
Our correspondent further gathered that the old man was kept at Abudu, near Benin for five days before he was relocated to Agbor-Ewuru, when the police closed in on them.
Investigation further showed that the owner of the house where he was held in Abudu was one of the suspects in the police net.
Reliable police sources told our correspondent on Sunday that detectives were on a manhunt of three other members of the gang, who were identified by the detained suspects during interrogation.
The sources said the gang carried out the act in order to extort money from the SSG, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, adding that the motive was not political.
The source added, ?We have five persons with us now in Benin over the kidnap of the father of the SSG in Delta, they actually carried out the criminal act and they have confessed their involvement in the heinous crime.
?In fact, they were eight in number who carried out the dastardly act according to the confessional statements made by the five suspects. We are looking for the other three. The owner of the house in Abudu where the suspects were held for five days is among the prime suspects.?
When contacted, the Assistant Inspector-General in charge of Zone 5, Mr. Udom Ekpoudom, confirmed the arrests of the suspects.
Ekpoudom, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, however, declined to give further details.