Gunmen yesterday kidnapped a man, Paul Aluola, and his wife in Ewatto, Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State. Paul is a teacher in Iriwa Primary School, Ohordua while his wife is a petty trader.
The couple were kidnapped while travelling along Ewatto-Ubiaja road near Ena River Bridge. It was gathered that the gunmen upon sighting their car, immediately opened fire forcing the teacher to stop.
They were forced out of the car at gunpoint and whisked into a forest near Okhuessan village.
Their car was abandoned at the centre of the road with the four doors opened, a situation which made many of the people in the area to immediately suspect they were kidnapped, victims.
The news of the kidnap grounded academic activities in the school where Paul works. The couple
is regular travellers on the route where they were abducted. The road links Edo and Delta states through Agbor, Ekpon, Ewohimi and Ewatto.
However, it was later gathered from a family source that the gunmen have contacted them with a demand of N15 million as ransom before they could be released.
“They are currently demanding for the sum of N15 million as ransom before the release of the couple. The family members are wondering how a teacher can raise such an amount of money.”
An attempt to get the reaction of the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, was not successful.
This is coming a day after gunmen kidnapped a pregnant woman in Benin City. The pregnant woman, Mrs Uju Okwudili, who is almost due for delivery, was kidnapped along Airport Road while taking her children to school.
Mrs Okwudili, in company of her husband, was taking her two children to school when the gunmen swooped on them at Ulemo community after Irriri in Oredo Local Government Area of the state and took her away leaving the husband and children behind.
Husband to the expectant mother said the kidnappers have put a call across to the family requesting for the sum of N5 million as ransom.
Meanwhile, wife of the Ovie of Ughelli kingdom, Wilson Okakovo, Oharisi III, yesterday escaped death after a gang of gunmen attempted to abduct her right in front of the palace in Ughelli, Delta State. The police officer attached to the palace, Inspector Bello Chinye, was shot in his upper arm by the gunmen and narrowly escaped death
A senior police officer at the Ughelli police command debunked insinuations that the incident was a kidnap attempt, saying it looked like a random armed robbery incident prevalent in the town.
The wife of the monarch, identified as Queen Rachel (Queen II) and her driver had gone to a nearby bank along Isoko road and were returning to the palace when they were accosted by the gunmen.
It was gathered that the gunmen, who wore police camouflage cardigan, double-crossed the car conveying the queen and ordered the driver to come down.
The driver who thought they were genuine policemen, questioned the gunmen, wondering what his offence was. The police inspector who was on guard at the palace came to the scene of the incident and tried to know what was going on.
On sighting the policeman, the gunmen reportedly opened fire on him and shot him on the upper hand. The queen ran into the palace in the confusion while the hoodlums also fled the scene.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Oneme Onowakpoyeya, who confirmed the incident yesterday, said it was an incident of attempted robbery and not kidnapping. “We were told it was attempted robbery not kidnap. However, irrespective of their intentions, they didn’t succeed,” Onowakpoyeya said.