Gunmen in Bayelsa abducted Iniokpoemi Benson, a younger brother of Kombowei Benson, the Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, early today.
The abduction adds to an atmosphere to what appears to be a worsening climate of insecurity in Bayelsa, one of Nigeria’s oil-producing states and the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The abduction of the speaker’s brother is the latest in a series of kidnappings and pirate attacks over the last month that have left several victims missing or dead.
The police chief added that the Bayelsa police had promptly deployed its anti-kidnap squad to go after the kidnappers and free the victim.
He disclosed that the gunmen abducted the speaker’s brother about 3 a.m. from his residence in Korokorosei in Southern Ijaw local government area in Bayelsa.
A source in the town described Mr. Benson as a community leader, having served as the immediate former chairman of the Community Development Committee.
Speaking on the abduction of 90-year-old Florentina Paulker, the aged mother of Senator Emmanuel Paulker, who represents Bayelsa Central, the state police commissioner disclosed that some arrests had been made.
“We have made some progress on that incident. We arrested one of them within hours and the next day we arrested three more subjects who are helping us and we are still making more arrests,” he said. He blamed the spate of abductions on “a syndicate.” He added, “we have cut off their communication link between the suspects in our custody and those holding the woman, so we are hoping that soon we shall free her.”
Mrs. Paulker, who was abducted on July 30 from her residence in the Opollo area of Yenagoa, the state capital, had been kidnapped in 2010 but was freed after eight days in captivity after a shoot out between her abductors and security forces. One of the kidnappers was killed in the gun duel.