By Emmanuel AddehÂ in YenagoaÂ
Hope of an early release for Mrs. Tina Inegbagha, wife of the Paramount ruler of Ayakoro community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, may have dimmed with her kidnappers demanding N100m to regain her freedom before the Christmas festivities.Â
The hoodlums got in touch with the family yesterday to demand the ransom having been silent for nearly a week after the incident had thrown the victimâ€™s family into confusion as to whether the woman was still alive.Â
On December 16, 2017, the suspects invaded the coastal settlement, abducting the monarchâ€™s wife as well as the principal of Government Craft Development Centre, Ayakoro, Mr. Egele Jack to an unidentified location.Â
The reportedly struck the community at about 2:00 a.m armed with three AK47 rifles, machetes and other weapons, before looting properties and other valuables worth millions of naira and beat up one of the sons of the paramount ruler.
Â A family source said that the kidnappers came through the window, asking for the paramount ruler who was said to have traveled at the time while the kidnapped woman came out on hearing the cries occasioned by the beating of her son.Â
Speaking in Yenagoa yesterday, a member of the monarchâ€™s family, Mr. Majesty Inegbagha, disclosed that the kidnappers had contacted the family with the huge demand.Â
â€œThe paramount ruler, who is my elder brother, confirmed to me this morning that the kidnappers have called him and demanded N100m. The call was a relief to the tension that had built up since the incident.Â
â€œAlthough the family is pleased to know that the woman is alive, the thought of raising that huge amount of money has created an additional challenge to the family.
Â â€œWe appeal to them (kidnappers) to free her on humanitarian grounds, as we lack the means to raise and pay the ransom money,â€ he said.Â
However, he was hopeful that the abducted paramount rulerâ€™s wife and the school principal would regain their freedom following prayers by family members and well-meaning members of the public, as well as efforts of the security agencies.Â
When asked about the chances of the early release of the woman, the Police Commissioner in the state, Mr. Asuquo Amba, said the incident was being investigated.
Â Amba said that following the recent upsurge in violent crimes in Bayelsa, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had sent a special squad to complement the efforts of the state command in curbing the rising crime wave in the state.