Africa Nigeria

Couple, Pregnant Woman Kidnapped in Edo by Gunmen, Demand for N20m Ransom

Charles Nwoke, Benin, Nigeria

December 2, 2020

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Unknown armed men yesterday abducted a man, Paul Aluola, and his wife in Ewatto, Esan South East Local Government Area Council of Edo State. Paul is a Primary School teacher in Iriwa, Ohordua, while his wife is a petty trader in the area.

The man and his wife were abducted while journeying along Ewatto-Ubiaja road near Ena River Bridge. It was gathered that the gunmen upon sighting their car, opened fire forcing the teacher to stop immediately.

They were forced out of the car at gunpoint and whisked into a nearby forest in Okhuessan village.

According to reports, their car was abandoned at the center of the road with the four doors ajar, a situation which made many of the people in the area believe they were abducted victims.

The news of the school teacher’s abduction grounded academic programs in the primary school where Paul works as a civil servant.

The couple is regular users of the route where they were abducted. The road links Edo and Delta states through Agbor, Ekpon, Ewohimi, and Ewatto.

However, from a family source, it was later discovered that the gunmen have contacted them with a demand of 15 million nairas as ransom before they could be freed.

The source said, “They are currently demanding for the sum of N15 million as ransom before the release of the couple. The family members are wondering how a teacher can raise such an amount of money.”

Every attempt made to get the reaction of the SP Chidi Nwabuzor, Police Public Relations Officer, proved abortive.

This is happening just a day after unidentified gunmen abducted a heavily pregnant woman in Benin City.

Mrs. Uju Okwudili, the pregnant woman, who is almost due for delivery, was kidnapped along Airport Road while taking her children to school.

She, in the company of her husband, was taking her two children to school when the gunmen swooped on them at Ulemo community after Irriri in Oredo Local Government Area of the state and took her away abandoning the husband and children along the road.

According to the expectant mother’s husband, the kidnappers have contacted the family requesting the sum of N5 million naira as a ransom to secure her release.

In another development, a wife of the Ovie of Ughelli kingdom, Wilson Okakovo, Oharisi III, yesterday escaped death after a gang of gunmen attempted to abduct her right in front of the palace of the Royal Father in Ughelli, Delta State.

Meanwhile, Inspector Bello Chinye, a police inspector attached to the palace of the Ovie was shot in his upper arm by the gunmen on a rampage, and he narrowly escaped death.

A senior police officer at the Ughelli police command who spoke to newsmen in anonymity debunked rumors that the incident was a kidnap attempt, saying it looked like a random armed robbery case rampant in the town.

The wife of the traditional ruler, Queen Rachel (Queen II), and her driver had gone to a nearby bank along Isoko road and were returning to the palace when they were accosted by the gunmen.

It was gathered that the gunmen, who were putting on police camouflage cardigans, double-crossed the queen’s car and ordered the driver to come down from the vehicle.

The driver who thought they were genuine policemen, questioned the gunmen, wondering what his offense was. The police inspector who was on guard at the palace came to the scene of the incident and tried to know what was going on.

On sighting the policeman, the gunmen reportedly opened fire on him and shot him in the upper hand. The queen ran into the palace in the confusion while the hoodlums equally escaped.

Oneme Onowakpoyeya, the Police Spokesman, who confirmed the incident yesterday, said it was an incident of attempted robbery and not kidnapping.

“We were told it was attempted robbery not kidnap. However, irrespective of their intentions, they didn’t succeed,” Onowakpoyeya said.