Abductors demand N50m ransom to release Olomoro monarch
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Festus Ahon and Ochuko Akuopha
FEAR enveloped royal fathers in Delta State following the kidnapping, weekend, of the Odio-ologbo of Olomoro Kingdom in Isoko South Local Government Area, HRM Josiah Aghaza I, 24 days after the king of Ubulu-Uku Kingdom in Aniocha South, Edward Ofulue III, was abducted and killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
However, abductors of the Olomoro monarch called the family on Friday night with his phone, demanding N50 million ransom. They switched off the phone after the call to obstruct tracking.
The Chair, Isoko South, Mr. Malik Ikpokpo, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard after a security meeting, in Oleh, yesterday morning, confirmed the demand for N50 ransom by the kidnappers.
Community leaders in Olomoro also held an emergency meeting to deliberate on how to secure freedom for their monarch.
Security agents are, however, on the trail of the kidnappers, who abandoned their car at Agbarha-Otor and moved to a hideout from where they contacted the family.
Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Celestina Kalu, said “no update yet” when this paper called her yesterday afternoon.
Our findings showed that traditional rulers in the state, who met last Thursday, in Asaba, the state capital, to deliberate on the kidnap and murder of Ofulue III, were alarmed when, barely 24 hours later, kidnappers abducted Aghaza I.
Some of them told Sunday Vanguard that they did not have adequate security and wondered whether kidnappers in Delta had made traditional rulers their targets.
A source said: “The royal fathers are human beings too, they are afraid and a number of them have beefed up their security with more vigilante men around them. Some have called the police to deploy officers to them and also adjusted their movements.”
One of the royal fathers said: “Most of us that you see do not even have money to buy fuel for our vehicles, let alone pay for security. For some of us, who have some policemen guarding us, it is not easy. When I get my monthly stipend, pay the policemen, local vigilante, there is nothing left even for my domestic staff.”
The parmount ruler of Siembiri Kingdom, Burutu local government rea, HRM Charles Ayemi-Botu and traditional ruler of Akugbene Mein Kingdom, Bomadi local government, HRM S.P. Luke-Kalanama VIII, who spoke our reporters, described the situation as worrisome to the monarchs.