The family of an Anglican Church cleric, Rev. Louis Nebo, says policemen attached to the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Enugu State Police Command demanded N65,000 to rescue the man of God from the kidnappers’ den.
It was learnt that N15,000 of the sum had allegedly been paid to the operatives before the kidnappers contacted the family, demanding N10m ransom.
Louis, 57, was reportedly kidnapped by some masked gunmen around Umumba Ndi Uno in the Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state last Saturday.
The pastor, who lives in Aguobu Umumba, was said to be returning from a meeting at a neighbouring community around 5.30am on the fateful day when his captors ambushed him.
Our correspondent learnt that the reverend’s wife and a member of the church were with the reverend in his car when the gunmen struck. The eight-man bandit reportedly took the pastor into the bush along the road. .
Speaking with PUNCH Metro on Wednesday, the victim’s son, Ebube Nebo, said there was no progress on the rescue of his father since the abduction was reported to the police. He added that the family was devastated by the cops’ request.
He said, “He was coming from his hometown in Obinofia Ndi Uno with my mother and her friend when he was kidnapped. They had gone for a community meeting. We reported the incident to the police.
“They initially requested N20,000 for mobilisation, but we paid N15,000. They told us that they would go on a rescue mission and left in our presence. When there was no success, we went back to them. They are now demanding N50,000 to track the phone number of the kidnappers, who had called us to demand N10m ransom. We do not have the money.
“They (kidnappers) even allowed him to speak with us on the phone and he said he was inside a thick bush. Just last month, he paid N500,000 ransom for the release of one of his junior pastors who was kidnapped.”
Ebube’s mother, Mrs. Charity Nebo, said her husband had made a U-Turn on sighting three gunmen from afar, but his escape mission was stalled by other members of the gang, who surfaced from the bush and warned him not to move.
She said, “There were three men standing on the road. They wore masks and were armed with guns. We decided to turn back. As we made a U-turn, we saw other members of the gang pointing guns at us. They chased us out of the car, collected the car key and our phones. They escaped through the bush with the my husband.”
Charity implored the captors to release her husband, adding that the family did not have money to pay the ransom.
She said, “I believe in God that we are worshiping. He will protect and safe him. Personally, I don’t have any money. The kidnappers should be merciful and release him unconditionally.”
A relative of the reverend, Mr. Madoka Okoli, also said the policemen collected N15,000. He added that the family was not ready to make any further payment and urged the police authorities to arrest the kidnappers.
He said, “The policemen promised to comb the bush after collecting the money, but there was no progress. They are supposed to do their job based on the information we have provided, but it is quite unfortunate that they are still demanding N50,000 from a family that is already traumatised.”
The Enugu State police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the abduction.
He said the command had not relented in its effort to free the pastor and round up the kidnappers. Amaraizu urged the family not to pay money to any security operative, noting that the police should be provided with information that could assist in tracking the captors.
He said, “I am aware that frantic efforts are in place to get out the victim unhurt and alive and the efforts did not include payment of any money to security operatives under any guise. However, effort should be made to enable us to know those behind this act.”