N40m ransomed demanded for abducted bishop
Just barely after 24 hours after the Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, delivered a warship to the Eastern Naval Command, in Calabar to boost its capacity to fight militancy in Calabar creeks, kidnappers whisked away the elder brother of former director-general of Department of State Security Services, Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong Ekpe and his wife through the same creeks.
Sunday Mirror learnt that the victims were snatched yesterday in their Creek Town home near Calabar. Mr. Ita Ekpeyong is the immediate past DG of the DSS.
A family source who confirmed the development said both were taken away from their quiet home in the middle of night.
Telephone calls put across to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Hogan Bassey and State Security Adviser to the governor, Jude Ngaji were not answered.
Our correspondent gathered that that the victims were initially held at gunpoint were for about 30 minutes before being taken away by armed men suspected to be sea militants who have now taken over the Calabar Creeks and endangered lives and maritime business.
“Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong Ekpe and his wife were whisked off through a narrow canal, which is only navigable at high tide off the main access creek into the main beach link of Calabar River estuary”, the source said.
Our report learnt that soldiers were still keeping guard near the Wharf area upon learning about the kidnap.
Speaker of state House of Assembly, John Gaul has said having been thoroughly embarrassed by cases of incessant kidnappings in the state they would soon pass a bill to make kidnapping and cultism a capital offence.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised Christians to be vigilant as kidnappers demanded N40 million ransom for the release of Right Rev. Moses Tabuwaye.
Okoh gave the advice in Abuja yesterday at the 2015 Annual Pre-pilgrimage Retreat and Workshop for staff of Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) and stakeholders.
The cleric said that Bishop Tabuwaye of Gwagwalada Diocese was on his way to Awka, Anambra State, for a church programme on September 4, when the kidnappers took him away to an unknown destination.
“I urge all of you Christians to be very vigilant and security conscious wherever you find yourselves.
“The issue of kidnapping is rampant in the country but we can still curtail the menace if we are vigilant.
“If we fail to live together as brothers in prayers, we shall perish as fools, so we should endeavour to be our brothers’ keepers”, he said.
NCPC boss, Mr. John-Kennedy Opara, assured that he would always give a sense of direction, hope to ensure that God’s plans for the commission were achieved.