Thursday, 19 February 2015

ABAK KIDNAP SAGA: The untold story of why the plot was hatched, executed

ABAK KIDNAP SAGA: The untold story of why the plot was hatched, executedABAK KIDNAP SAGA: The untold story of why the plot was hatched, executed
Some incredible revelations have continued to pour in why the wife of the village head of Ikot Ekiduk, Mrs. Grace Sylvester Etokudo was kidnapped and subsequently released.

Our sources disclosed that she was kidnapped when she was back from a Church programme in the area by some gun – wielding men from the pit of hell. The source also revealed that the sum of sixty million naira (N60m) was placed as ransom, adding that if they did not have the money they should contact Dr. Nkereuwem Etokudo to help them. However, the abductors seem to have built castles in the air as security operatives went to rescue her about a week without paying a dime. She was rescued at the compound of Aniedi Ezekiel Ibanga at Afaha Ikot Inyang in Ukanafun L.G.A. The Village is close to Abak (Ikot Edong Village) and Oruk Anam Villages.

When our crime reporter visited the uncompleted, abandoned kidnappers’ den recently, the entrance of the compound had Indian bamboo stripped with red material across the entrance which wore grave yard silence; even as neighbours still discussed the matter in hushed tones. The girlfriend to the landlord (Aniedi) who hails from Uruk Ata Nsidung in Etim Ekpo LGA is said to have been the cook and food supplier to the victims. The two lovers are now wanted dead or alive, according to security sources. Neighbours who confided in our reporter said that Aniedi was seen in the morning of Friday, 16th January after closing the wooden window of the building after the rescue operation. 

 ABAK KIDNAP SAGA: The untold story of why the plot was hatched, executedABAK KIDNAP SAGA: The untold story of why the plot was hatched, executed

Personal effects of some victims were also seen by neighbours when Aniedi (Udo Fele Fele) surfaced the morning after the operation. But a peep by our reporter through the weather–beaten window indicated that fire had gutted everything in the den, just as the caving roof showed signs of contacts with flames.

A notorious cultist, Ifiok Abraham Akpaneyen (alias Tunde), a caterpillar driver  from neighboring Nkek Abak in Ukanafun LGA was arrested at Nsekhe in the early hours of that 16th January where he was alleged to have spent the night with his steady girlfriend. Tunde’s step-brother, Edidiong Abraham Akpaneyen (aka Murphy), a dropout from College of Education, Afaha Nsit is also said to be hosted by security operatives. One Godwin, a former runaway kidnap suspect from Midim Ikot Ikpe is said to have taken to flight for alleged role in the abduction of the headmistress. While the dragnet to mop-up the remnants of the suspects is said to be extended to all those whose relationship with the late kingpin, Unwana Raphael Idung was suspect. Sources said that the ghost of the late criminal is still hunting those who provided lifeline to him while in hiding for alleged crimes. Sources alleged that the kidnap and murder of the father of the rescued headmistress, late chief Sandy Ntuenibok is linked to gang laid by Raphael as he was popularly known. The killing of the village head aspirant of Offot in Abak; the murder of Aniekan Peter Umoh, daughter of a former chairman of Abak and a former councillorship candidate who was killed near Bishop Clark Primary School in Abak are some of the criminal exploits of the kingpin.

Sources in Midim alleged that the original plot of the abduction was to kidnap the provost of the College of Medical Laboratory Science Technology, Jos, Dr. Nkereuwen Etokudo who was in his village to attend the funeral service of late Nyarks. The kidnappers could not abduct Dr. Etokudo because of his police security. Missing their target, the trigger – happy gentlemen opted for the cousin’s wife. The cousin, Chief Sylvester Ibanga Etokudo is the Village Head of Ikot Ekiduk in Midim Clan.

Sources said that the grouse of the dreaded men is not unconnected with the towering, popular public profile of the provost which is said to be a thorn in the flesh of some political stakeholders in the area. His philanthropy and people oriented programmes are said to be a major source of worry to some political stalwarts in the area.

Competent security sources said that the former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Barr Patrick Udomfang had been invited for a “chat” with the state of security service (SSS) over his alleged relationship with the leader of the gang, Raphael who has killed during encounter with the security operatives. Udomfang is alleged to have been “settling” for fear of his life and family. The traveling passport of the former commissioner is said to have been captured by the security men during the interrogation as a matter of “routine checks” even as he regained his freedom shortly after.     

Udomfang has however denied any invitation by the SSS or having any problem with his cousin, Dr. Etokudo who is said to having blood link with the former commissioner. Udomfang had even advised our reporter to “….do what you know and can defend and not what you are told. I have never been invited by the SSS. I have never had problem with Dr. Nkereuwem Etokudo. Just be careful that you don’t do what you can’t defend. You know me very well;” adding that “… as a trained journalist ask the person that gave you the story to write an undertaking for you before you publish so that it can serve as a defence if something happens tomorrow. I appreciate your talking to me on this-Udomfang”.

Dr. Etokudo did not comment on the matter, despite calls and a text message to his phone line.
Investigation by our reporters on the relationship between Udomfang and Dr. Etokudo indicated that there are cousins as the former commissioner’s father was a brother to the provost’s paternal grandmother. Contrary to the claim by Udomfang that he has no problem with Dr. Etokudo, there has been something more than a cold war between the two prominent sons of Midim ward I where the battle for control has created glaring animosity. Our reporter gathered that during the last local government election Udomfang fronted his cousin, Victor Saviour Edem on the platform of the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Dr. Etokudo bankrolled Uduak Ibanga Etokudo from All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to represent the good people of Midim ward I, the APGA candidate is believed to have won but the PDP standard-bearer was announced the winner.

This was after the battle over clan headship of Midim had deepened the cracks between the two cousins. Dr. Etokudo supported the village head of Nto Otong, Akuku Patrick Akerette, a retired senior civil servant to emerge the clan head, but he lost it to the village head of Ikot Ntuk, Obong Friday Isonguyo who enjoyed the backing of the former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy Affairs, even as there is a pending court case between Dr. Etokudo and Udomfang loyalists who made unsubstantiated accusation that bordered on state security against the provost. The claim by Udomfang that he has no problem with Etokudo is merely a window dressing which ought to be swallowed with a pinch of salt. “There is more in it than the eyes can see for now”, a source told our reporter in Midim. 

Sources alleged that chairman of Abak Local Government Area, Mr. Joseph Ikpaisong Inyang had been providing lifeline and patronage to the late criminal while in hiding from eagle-eyed security operatives that finally got him along Aka road in Uyo. The late Raphael was said to have been the one incharge of Bishop Clark Motor Park which he was not accountable to anybody. A power bike rider who used to take Raphael for nocturnal meetings in Abak, who is said to be close to the council boss is on security surveillance.  The chairman of Abak Local Government Area denied having any dealing with the late Raphael or being invited for questioning by the SSS.     

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