BY TONY NYONG
UYO — The Paramount Ruler of Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Ubong Assam, was yesterday, abducted by no fewer than 30 gunmen, who stormed his palace at 2a.m.
The kidnappers took the royal father to Unyeghe village, Mbo Local Government Area in a car, transferred him to a waiting speedboat and left for the high seas.
The kidnap, it was learnt, might be in connection with N2.6 billion compensation paid by ExxonMobil to the four host local government communities, which the youths had rejected.
Although the security personnel attached to the royal father attempted to rescue him, the kidnappers’ superior fire power won the day.
The Paramount Ruler, who was sleeping when the gunmen struck was, according to a source, not maltreated by the abductors.
The source said the abductors were demanding N150 million ransom to release the victim, as their share of the compensation money, which they claimed they joined in agitating for.
A family source said: “Some of the gun shots sounded like bomb blasts. The operation was like an invasion.”
The Esit Eket Divisional Police Officer could not be reached, but a senior police officer that identified himself as Ogar, said they had received distress calls around 2a.m., but that before Police arrived, the kidnappers had gone.
Youths of Esit Eket, Onna and Ibeno local government areas of the state, last week came out to say they had demanded for N26.5 billion from the oil giant due to the oil spill last year September, but that the company paid N2.6 billion.
They had alleged that some of the royal fathers in the area connived with the oil company to shot-change them.