By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA — After eight days in captivity, the kidnapped 90-year-old Mrs. Florentina Paulker, mother of Senator Emmanuel Paulker, has been rescued off the coastal area of Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by a combined team of policemen and ex-militant leaders.
Mrs. Paulker was kidnapped about 2.50 am last Wednesday at her Opolo home in Yenagoa, the state capital by armed men and taken in a get-away car allegedly driven by a policeman who is now in detention.
The aged woman was reportedly dumped at a fishing camp in the coastal area of Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw council due to pressure on the kidnappers by security operatives.
A source close to the Paulker family told our correspondent that the intervention of a former militant leader and National Coordinator of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), General Pastor Reuben, also led to the quick rescue of the victim from the kidnappers’ den off the Atlantic coast.
The ex-militant leader, now an advocate of peace in the region, is said to be a close friend of the Senator.
But sources within the security circle, yesterday, stated that the pressure mounted by its operatives following the arrest of a serving policeman, simply identified as Tosin and some unidentified persons related to another suspect, an auto mechanic known as Abass, along the Edepie area of the state capital led to the rescue of the victim.
The arrested policeman is said to be attached to the Akenfa Police Division of the state Police command and was reported to have driven the kidnappers who abducted the senator’s mother.
Meantime, the Bayelsa State government has lauded the effort of the security agencies for their role in the rescue of Mrs. Paulker.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Lt Col Bernard Kenebai (rtd), in a statement yesterday in Yenagoa made the commendation at end of the State Security Council meeting.
The meeting, according to the statement, had in attendance, the State Commissioner of Police, Hillary Okpara and the Deputy Commander of the JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpe among others.
He said: “the huge investment of the present administration in security and efforts of the security agencies are yielding enormous results, especially on successes recorded with the recent incident of kidnapping.
“Some of the suspected kidnappers of the mother of Senator Paulker were arrested few minutes after the incident and since then, there have been fruitful efforts in the investigation, which has led to the arrest of several others.”
The government reassured the citizenry that the security agencies were working round the clock to ensure the safety of Bayelsans, create the conducive and enabling environment for the people to go about their lawful businesses
“Bayelsa State is very safe and has continued to be safe, because security agencies are working round the clock. Everyone here will agree that the security agencies are doing a wonderful job. I can attest that Bayelsa is safe and that people should go about their lawful duties.
“All the security agencies are determined to nip in the bud any threat to security. We are, therefore working as a team as no security agency alone can subdue the challenges alone.
“The resolution taken in this meeting is that anyone coming into the Bayelsa to vent crime, cause confusion, make people to panic should bear in his/her mind that there is no room for insurgency here. Kidnapping will cease.”
He solicited the supports and collaboration of the people in the state with the security agencies to ensure that the state remains calm and safe.