*Police Commissioner accuses Uba
*I’m innocent, says Uba
By Dayo Benson, Kingsley Omonobi, Tony Edike & Enyim Enyim
AWKA â€” KIDNAPPERS of the 78-year-old father of embattled governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State, Professor Chukuma Soludo, yesterday, demanded N500 million ransom for the release of the septuagenarian.
The kidnappers who made the demand through a telephone call to the family, according to a close family source, said they needed the money to â€œoffset election expenses.â€
The source who spoke to Vanguard on telephone however said the kidnappers did not mention where the ransom should be deposited.
Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, while reacting to the development said the kidnap is politically-motivated just as Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Philip Leha, accused a political godfather in the state, Chief Chris Uba, as the brain behind the kidnap
Speaking on the incident, the Inspector-General warned politicians to stop seeing the issue of political office as a matter of win-at-all-cost syndrome.
Onovo who spoke during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief
Marshal Paul Dike, said: â€œjust yesterday night, a terrible blow was dealt on our effort at fighting kidnapping which has recorded huge success of late, with the abduction of Soludoâ€™sÂ father. We know it is politically-motivated, but we are going to ensure he is freed unhurt.
â€œPoliticians should note that it is not a do-or-die affair. Politics is a game and it should be seen as such. You win some, you lose some. It should not be taken to this dangerous level of kidnapping. We will find him and free himâ€.
On his visit to the CDS, Onovo said, â€œmy delegation and I are here to thank Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike for the tremendous assistance he has given to the Nigeria Police.â€
Police invite Uba
However, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Philip Leha, while briefing reporters on the kidnap said he has invited Chief Uba.
â€œThere has been stiff opposition against the candidature of Soludo. Yesterday, some group of politicians held a meeting at Emmaus House, Awka where scathing remarks were made on the person of Professor Charles Soludo.Â Just after the meeting, Chief Simeon Soludo was kidnapped and it is left for people to speculate who did it, and for what reasonsâ€, he said.
â€œI have extended invitation to Chris Uba to come and see me. I have to interrogate him. I have asked my AC OPS to send him a letter of invitation and he is coming. He (Uba) has already called me and said he will come tomorrow (today). They have already passed the letter to himâ€, he added.
He reiterated the commandâ€™s earlier warning that it would not fold its arms and watch politicians make nonsense of all the gains it has made so far.
Leha said no arrest has been made over the kidnap and appealed to the public to avail the police of any useful information in respect of the kidnap.
I’m no criminal, says Uba
Reacting to the allegation, Chief Uba said although he did not agree with Soludoâ€™s ambition to govern Anambra State, it was a great insult for Soludo to finger him in the kidnap as he was not a criminal.
He told reporters in Enugu yesterday that Soludo wasÂ playing politics with the kidnap of his father, adding that he could not understand why Soludo would choose to blackmail him simply because he (Uba) did not support his governorship ambition.
Said he: â€œSoludo started a rumour last night that they kidnapped his father, but to my greatest surprise, some journalists told me this afternoon that the Commissioner of Police in Awka said Soludo is accusing me as the person who kidnapped his father.
â€œPlease I want Nigerians to judge between me and Soludo who between us is a criminal in this country.â€
Continuing, the controversial politician said: â€œSoludo knows where he hid his father and if he is ready, let him go and bring him out.
How can anybody kidnap Soludoâ€™s father with all the security around him and the entire family compound.Â Were all the security men attached to him killed or hypnotized at the time? I donâ€™t believe the false alarm and no amount of blackmail can stop me from fighting.Â I will continue fighting until the right thing is done in Anambra State this time around.
â€œWhat is the purpose the kidnap of Soludoâ€™s father going to serve? I have a mother who is 90 years.
My mother is there, nobody has kidnapped her since I have been in politics. So, what is the purpose of Soludoâ€™s father being kidnapped? I feel that he wants to whip up sympathy.Â Soludo came through the backyard door and I will throw him out through the backyard door.â€
â€œSoludo is my very close friend. I want you to note that. Everybody in this country knows that Soludo is my friend. We are very close, we drink together but I donâ€™t know what he is looking for.
â€œSoludo is not a member of our party. Even though he claims to be a card carrying member, he never did anything for the party.Â To my greatest surprise, he came out to say that he is running for governor of Anambra.Â And I told him that I will never support him.Â It can never work.â€