The abductors of Edo state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Emmanuel Agbale are yet to let go of their victim until a mouth-watering ransom of N10 million is paid.
Edo state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Jimeta, denied knowledge of the ransom demand but confirmed that the hoodlums had a phone conversation with the panic-stricken family members two days after his kidnap.
Agbale was reportedly kidnapped on Friday evening by the armed gang, along the Benin-Auchi road at Okhuo River just by Heartland Palm Plantation on his way to to Ekpoma.
While the commissioner’s driver escaped unhurt, Jimeta said the police orderly was gunned down by the kidnappers during the operation.
A close source said negotiations were already on between the kidnappers and the family members, adding that they initially demanded N20 million ransom before letting go of Agbale but that the money had been slashed to N10 million.
He added: “The kidnappers have held several telephone conversations with the family members and made their demand known. From an initial demand of N20 million, they reduced it was to N10 million which they insisted must be paid before releasing him.”
The Edo police boss who spoke Sunday in Benin was, however, silent as to whether the kidnappers were Fulani herdsmen or not but maintained that his men were on the trail of the kidnappers and were combing the forest around the scene in a determined bid to release the commissioner.
He assured that the police will do everything possible to ensure that he is released unhurt and the kidnappers brought to the book.
He said: “The Commissioner was kidnapped on Friday evening along Benin-Auchi road. His police orderly was killed by the gunmen. Right now, my men are everywhere, combing the bush to rescue him. By God’s grace, we will rescue him alive. We are closing in on them. We will bring the kidnappers to justice.”