Abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, has regained his freedom.
He spent five days in the kidnappers’ den before he was freed on Monday.
Otokito was kidnapped on January 20 from his residence in Otuokpoti, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, by gunmen believed to be crude oil thieves.
He was said to have been abducted because he reportedly opposed their plan to set up an illegal refinery around the community’s forest.
Two days after the incident, the gang leader called the paramount ruler of the community, Theophilus Wongo, on the telephone and informed him that the victim was in their custody.
The camp leader did not demand any ransom but stated that they would release Otokito only on the condition that his detained father was released by the police.
On Sunday, he also contacted the Community Development Committee chairman to reiterate what he had told the traditional ruler.
Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Daniel Alabrah, who confirmed the release of Otokito, said he was brought to the governor, Douye Diri, in the Government House, Yenagoa, by Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo, and Director of State Security Services in the state.
He said Diri had removed the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti, Wongo, and sacked the CDC chairman, Anthony Hamon, as well as the youth president.
The governor’s media aide said, “Yes (the commissioner has been released). The Commissioner of Police and Director of SSS brought him to governor.
“The governor has deposed the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti. He has also sacked the CDC chairman and the youth president.”
He also said the police had declared four persons wanted in connection with the abduction of the freed commissioner.
On the condition given by the kidnappers’ leader, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Asinim Butswat, said the “command is not aware of that.”
Diri had vowed on Sunday that the commissioner would be released unhurt, stressing that the state government would not pay ransom to secure his freedom.
Diri, who spoke at the 12th Kolokuma-Opokuma Thanksgiving Day in Sampou, his community, said that the state’s laws prohibiting kidnapping would be followed to the letter against the kidnappers.
Alabrah, quoted him in a statement on Monday to have called on the hoodlums to free Otokito unconditionally.
The governor reportedly said, “I left Yenagoa for Abuja and within the period, one of my cabinet members was kidnapped. A lot of people expected me to make statements but I am not a man of too many words.
“I advise those who settle scores by kidnapping and criminality that there are laws of Bayelsa State against kidnapping. Let me call on those that kidnapped my Commissioner of Trade and Investment to immediately release him without any conditions.
“I have been on it from the beginning till now and I will ensure that he is released unhurt. I advise all others involved in that criminal, ungodly and inhumane act to have a change of mind and leave that illegitimate business.”