Four Itsekiri community leaders and about four officials of Elcrest, a contracting firm with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), we’re on Thursday abducted by suspected militants in Delta.
The contracting firm is purportedly owned by prominent Anambra-born billionaire, Chief Emeka Offor.
They were reportedly abducted at a community in Benin River, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State.
The abducted Itsekiri community leaders included Chairman of Ureju Community Trust, Mr Eniyan HenryTonwe and Kele Meme.
Abducted with the duo were yet-to-be identified officials of Elcrest with whom they were reportedly sighted at Ureju Community at about 5:00p.m, Tuesday May 16.
The victims were said to be on their way back to Warri from Ureju when suspected militants allegedly abducted them after firing several shots into the air.
It was gathered that the community leaders had gone to show the company officials the terrain for a proposed free medicare programme.
The militants, suspected to be Ijaws, we’re alleged to have claimed that Elcrest and NPDC have not been carrying them along in their operations.
Meanwhile, feelers had emerged that the assailants had demanded a ransom of about N36 million from Elcrest.
They were also said to have requested their inclusion into the company’s payroll before the abductees will be released.
The militants had demanded the removal of an army gun boat in the Benin River axis as one of the conditions for the release of the abductees.
The condition was said to have been met, but as of 6:30p.m Thursday, the whereabouts of the Itsekiri community leaders and the company officials were still unknown.
Delta Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Andrew Aniamaka, confirmed the abduction, adding that “the police backed by the military are on the trail of the hoodlums.”