By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Furoebi Akene, yesterday, described as ‘unsettling’ the continued search for his aged mother, Madam Patimi Akene, abducted, penultimate week, by gunmen at Fonibiri in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state.
Akene said the kidnappers, who initially demanded his resignation, later demanded N30m ransom which they reduced to N10m.
He described as worrisome the kidnappers threat to cut off the head of his mother over his refusal to accede to the ransom demand.
Akene spoke in Yenagoa when a group of journalists, politicians and other professionals, under the aegis of The Parliament, called at his residence.
He said though the threat was made on telephone, he was not going to be intimidated.
”One of the kidnappers, who claimed to be the leader of the gang, threatened to kill my mother. He said he will cut off her head and deliver it to my house at INEC Road and the body at the village. Because of the difficulty at getting me to agree with their demand, they have stopped calling me to discuss ransom,” he said.
Akene noted that because of his uncompromising stance, the kidnappers have started calling his younger sister to demand the ransom.
He reported that the younger sister pleaded that they collect a million naira but the kidnappers declined insisting that such sum is not enough for fuel and feeding of the kidnapped septuagenarian.
Akene recalled that when the news of the abduction got to him, he abandoned the World Surveyors Conference he was attending in Malaysia.
”When they demanded that I resigned from the present administration as the condition for my mother’s release, I told them that I am not a man out to sacrifice his mother for position,” he recalled.
According to him, they allowed him to speak with her as a proof that they were holding her.
”They allowed me speak with her twice. The first time, she told me she was okay and I asked her if the kidnappers are Ijaws, she confirmed that they are. On the second occasion, they made my mother cry as a means to convince me of their seriousness. She was crying and begged me to secure her release and give them the money.
”They asked me to pay them the ransom. I told him I will not pay as I am not owing them. The last text I received was, ‘You have lost your mother’.
Madam Patimi Akene, was abducted without any gunshot and whisked away by armed men numbering about six from her home close to the Ofonibiri community waterside at about 12 am penultimate Saturday.
The Bayelsa State Police Command, through its image maker, Alex Akhigbe, DSP, assured that they were on the trail of the gunmen but declined further comment.