Men of the Nigerian Police Force, the Army, Directorate of State Service, DSS, Customs and other security agencies have Monday taken over the premises of the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku, Obi Chukwuka Okonjo and laid siege to other parts of the town after the kidnap of Prof. Kamene Okonjo, 82, mother of the Minister of Finance, Prof Okonjo-Iweala Sunday afternoon.
Also, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, Director of DSS, a top Army chief and other top government officials held an emergency security meeting in the palace.
One of the sons of the kidnapped queen told Vanguard that the Finance Minister, Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was being expected to fly in from Abuja.
We‘re not sleeping on the matter- Police Commissioner
Speaking to Vanguard on phone, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Aduba said the police were not sleeping on the matter.
He described the kidnap as a very sad development, saying that has been one of our major problems in the state, but the police were equal to the task.
He said he does not believe in talking too much, but in action, saying the strategies employed by security agents to track down the kidnappers was not for newspaper publications.
Commissioner Aduba, however, said the command would do its best to secure the release of Prof Kamene Okonjo, adding that the terrain of the state was helping the criminals in escaping security radar.
The commissioner, nevertheless, said the Command was already mopping up unlawful and illegal arms within and outside the state to ensure a crime-free ember months.
He said the police in the state recently burst inter-state kidnap gang operating between Anambra and Delta states and arrested almost over 100 criminals, including suspected kidnappers, adding that the gunmen, who kidnapped Prof Kamene Okonjo would be tracked down.
The first impression of any visitor to the Ogbe-Ofu palace is that the one-storey building is in an isolated location. There is practically no neigbour to ask questions about what happened in the palace, except for those working or residing within the bastion.
In addition, the fence surrounding the compound is low and easy to scale for intruders, which was exactly what the kidnappers took advantage of.
Security agents cordon palace
Shortly after Vanguard arrived Monday morning and took photographs of the palace and the workers, who oblivious of what happened, were fixing interlocking tiles in the compound, the security agents arrived to cordon off the palace.
They prevented visitors from entering the palace soon after and even some community vigilance men that came with a vehicle, were prevented from driving into the compound.
One of the children, who spoke to reporters said, “There was no security when the kidnappers stormed the compound and nobody could dare people who are armed with guns”.
Uduaghan, security chiefs relocate to Ogwashi-Uku
An aide to the governor told Vanguard at about 12.45 pm, “Yes, the governor came visiting to the place. He came with the Police Commissioner and other heads of security agencies in the state. They are all here putting heads together, you know what happened, it is embarrassing and we also heard from one of the children that the Minister was likely to come”.
“We are not so sure, but the governor and others are monitoring the situation, they are strategising on how to get the kidnappers, but one thing is ruled out, the boys are not going to get any ransom if that is what they thought”, he added.
Kidnappers yet to contact family
A dependable source who confided in Vanguard, said, “The kidnappers want money. As at this morning, they have not made any contact with the family on ransom, but I am sure that they know that security agents are on them”