The first cousin of President Goodluck Jonathan, Inengite Nitabai, has been abducted by gunmen in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
In a daring move, the heavily armed men stormed the expansive compound of Nitabai located before Otuoke bridge, off Otu-Okpoti-Ogbia Road and isolated their target without a gunshot.
Nitabai said to be about 70 years old is a compound chief in Jonathan’s Ebele family and has been acting like a father to the President since Jonathan’s real biological father died, sources from the family said.
Commotion and panic reigned supreme in the compound of Nitabai when the bandits gained access to the area between 8 and 9pm on Sunday.
The victim, his wife, his wife’s sister and three of his children were in the house when the assailants stormed the compound.
His wife’s sister, 37-year-old Akinobebh Jin, said Silas, one of the sons of the victim first sighted the criminals and raised the alarm.
“We came back from somewhere around 8pm. Silas was at the verandah doing his assignment while my in-law, my sister and two other siblings were in the living room together.
“After sometimes, Silas came shouting and saying that some people had just entered into the compound. As we sprang on our feet, we were confused because we didn’t know where to run to.
“Shortly After that five heavily armed men entered into the house, barking. We ran into the kitchen and some of them followed us to the kitchen. They asked us to lie down. They hit my sister on the head and asked her to give them money.
“They also hit my in-law with the butt of their guns and demanded money. They threatened to shoot us. My sister told them she had small money and they followed her to the bedroom where she gave them money”,she said.
Jin said after collecting about N400,000, the gunmen still took their victim forcefully into a car parked at the compound.
She said the car a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) belonged to the victim and was parked in the compound.
“Five of the gunmen entered the compound while five others were hanging around the premises. They locked us inside the house before leaving”, she said.
Jin who sustained injury at her finger said she had yet to recover from the shock.
Meanwhile, a detachment of Joint Task Force(JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, and operatives of the police had been deployed to the place.
It was learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Hilary Opara, and the Deputy Commander, JTF, Commodore Ime Ekpa, had earlier visited the crime scene, where he said that he and his men had murdered sleep since the incident happened.
He said the police alerted other sister security agencies and prompted them to swing into action.
He added that two gunboats had been stationed at the Onuebum waterside disclosing that the police had so far patrolled Edebiri, Kiambiri, Anyama and Ogobiri creeks.
Opara revealed that two suspects had been arrested so far. “The other two suspects saw my men and ran away. We know them and we will get them”, he said.
The Media Coordinator, JTF, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the incident and said the assailants abandoned the victim’s car at the Onuebum community water front.
The confirmation showed that the assailants must have escaped with their victim into the creeks through Onuebum waterways.