By Samuel Oyadongha
The familyÂ of the 74-year-old grandma, Mrs. Lydia Epidi, who was abducted by armed gunmen suspected to be commercial hostage takers, Sunday night, in the sleepy settlement of Tungbo in the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, have been thrown into confusion as her kidnappers are demanding N300 millionÂ ransom.
Though the whereabouts of the septuagenarian is unknown, the gunmen Monday night opened a channel of negotiation with their victimâ€™s son, a civil servant, stating their condition before she would be set free.
The alarmed son of the victim, Godspower Epidi, yesterday in Yenagoa, said the kidnappers established contact with him Monday night on his mobile phone demanding N300m ransom before his mother would regain her freedom.
He noted with sadness that his caller, who is believed to be the spokesperson of the gang that kidnapped her, bluntly told him that since he was an employee of the government that killed militant leader, Ken Newigha, an indigene of Odi community, they will avenge the loss of their colleague through any means.
Epidi explained that his plea that he was only a civil servant and as such could not raise the money they are demanding was rejected by the caller who terminated the call.
Thinking it was a bluff, Epidi said he called back to plead with the kidnappers to speak with his mother only for the receiver to reply that he was not serious and that, ”my mother will remain with them till I showed seriousness.
â€œThis is my predicament,â€ he lamented, even as nobody could guess the whereabouts of his mother.
The response of the caller has again brought to the fore the mysterious threat text message from an anonymous GSM line sent to top government officials in Bayelsa State shortly after death of militant leader, Ken Newigha, following alleged shoot out between the police and members of his gang.
The text message read in part:Â â€œWe have not been able to recover from the shock in Delta state yet you guys still have the guts to kill our colleagues who are very precious to us. You guys have just bitten what is too much for you to chew.
â€œIf you know how important the likes of Ken and our colleagues are to us, you people wouldnâ€™t have dared us. And for this reason, we will avenge their death in whatever way we can even if it means all of us dying.
â€œDo you know what it took us to break the prison all because of Ken now you have taken his life? As for you Governor Timipre Sylva, Deputy Governor Ebebi, SSG Gideon Ekeuwe, Speaker Werinipre Seibarugu, deputy speaker Nestor Binabo, should be ready for us because you asked for it. When we start with you guys, do not say it is the handiwork of the devil or you are been troubled by one witch or anything.
â€œYou guys and your useless families have no place to hide. We will be at the highways, at the church and everywhere for you, your family and your properties just to let you know how important and useful they (colleagues) are to us.â€
This development, it would be recalled, made most political office holders in the state to resort to the use of armed policemen or soldiers to reinforce security around themselves and their household, even as security agencies battle to unravel those behind it to no avail.