By Perez Brisibe
UGHELLI—THE Ekpetipu family of Kokodiagbene, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, has asked the Commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF, to tell its members the whereabouts of their son, Gabriel Ekpetipu, who was arrested on June 12, 2017, for alleged kidnapping.
The family, in a statement, yesterday, explained that following the abduction of one of its sons, John Ekpetipu, who is a boat captain with Ebidise Energy Servicing Company Limited, and two others, on May 11, along the River Ramos in Bayelsa State, his brother, Gabriel and two others were arrested for allegedly diverting a N4 million ransom paid for the release of those abducted.
However, the management of the company has absolved itself from the arrest of the suspects, stressing that it only reported the matter to the JTF and the Marine Police, who are investigating the incident.
Spokesman for the Ekpetipu family, Chief Debofa Tobi, in a statement, said: “When the ransom was taken to the kidnappers, they held back the two persons that took the money to them and demanded for an extra N6 million before all five persons would be released. Sensing foul play, the CEO of the company invited officers from the Nigeria Army Sector II to arrest Gabriel and two others on allegation of diverting the ransom for their personal use.
“We were able to trace them to the JTF headquarters, Yenegoa where a source confided in us that officers from Sector II handed over some suspects to them including those arrested alongside Gabriel but unfortunately, Gabriel was not among them.” Efforts to reach the JTF spokesmen, Maj. Abubakar Abdullahi, were fruitless at press time.
As it stands, while we are moaning the continued holding of our son by his abductors since May 11, we are also at loss over the whereabouts of another of our son who was last seen on June 12 being taken away by the Nigeria Army, Sector II.”
Efforts to reach the JTF spokesmen, Maj. Abubakar Abdullahi, were fruitless as at press time.