INDICATIONS have emerged that N200million was paid to the abductors of the acclaimed unconditional release of the abducted father of the Delta State Secretary to Government (SSG), Pa Okorie Okowa.
His son, the SSG, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has however, maintained that no money was paid for the release of the 76-year-old hostage.
His father was found in a room near Agbor-Ewuru, Edo State, by a team of security men led by the SSG.
Sources told the Nigerian Compass yesterday that instead of N600 million ransom, which the abductors demanded, the state government parted with N200 million after much bargain and appeal.
A source said: "The state government summoned an emergency meeting to the effect That was where they brainstormed on how to raise the fund to release him. Initially, they vowed not to pay any ransom, but when they saw that the event was about overtaking them, they settled for N200 million, instead of the N600 million initially slammed on them. It was then the boys decided to show them where the man (Pa Okowa) was kept.."
The source fingered a former Commissioner as the middleman between the abductors and the state government,.
He said: "A son to the elder brother to the SSG, together with a one time Commissioner (names withheld) were the ones who facilitated the negotiations with the kidnappers".
It was gathered that the Commissioner who before now was familiar with militants and their operations in the Niger Delta region had to use his influence to effect the release.
Two weeks ago, the Ika Chief, Pa Okowa said his release was effected by a detachment of armed policemen who were led by his son, Ifeanyi, to a room where he was locked up at Ewuru, near Agbor, headquarters of Ika South Local Government Area of the state in the night.
Pa Okowa claimed to have heard the voice of his son telling the armed policemen "my father is in this room"
Kidnap saga: 50 soldiers deployed to Agbor
Written by AUSTIN OGWUDA
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
NO fewer than fifty armed soldiers have been deployed to Agbor, Delta State to assist in security situation there following the recent kidnap of Pa Arthur Okowa, father of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) coupled with rampant cases of killings by cult groups.
The soldiers are presently stationed at Agbor, headquarters of Ika South and Owa-Oyibu, headquarters of Ika North East local government areas of the state.
Investigation by Vanguard showed that the presence of the soldiers who came in immediately after the release of Pa Okowa is already causing some ripples as some residents complained of alleged acts of harassment and intimidation.
A 35-year-old lady whose simply gave her name as Gloria told our reporter yesterday that ?the presence of the soldiers, although with them around all these bad boys will run four forty, but since the soldiers came it appears there is curfew but no official pronouncement. We are on forced curfew here.
?This?, she went on ?because once is six o?clock going to seven you have to find your way home or be ready to be flogged. The other day as I was returning from an evening service the okada that carried me almost crashed as he was flogged and in a bid to avoid the flogging almost fell into a ditch.
Another resident, who runs a beer parlour in Agbor, Mama Ifeoma collaborated the story saying that ?night life is gone. Before I used to sell up to 9pm but now no customers the streets are deserted before seven?, she added.