The abductors of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in Delta State, SP Valentine Mbalu, have reduced their ransom to N5 million for him to be released unhurt. For seven days now, the victim has been in the kidnappers’ den.
The five-man gang kidnapped him around Umunede/Igbodo towns along the ever-busy Benin- Asaba-Onitsha expressway, while returning from Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of the state, to Asaba on Sunday last week.
The reduction in the ransom came 72 hours after a top police officer at the command headquarters in Asaba, who does not want his names in the print, said the five-man gang had earlier demanded N20 million from his family members.
The command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), DSP Andrew Aniamaka, however kept sealed lips on the downward review of the ransom. But a family source yesterday in Asaba confirmed that the N5 million discussed with the kidnappers ended abruptly as the hoodlums switchedoff their communication line while the negotiation was ongoing.
While the family source said the victim’s kinsmen had started to consider the payment, for fear that the kidnappers might hurt him, he wondered why the command had played second fiddle in getting him released unhurt.
“We are becoming uncomfortable with the body language of the command headquarters. As soon as the communication channel is open to us, we will do what is needful. But it is unfortunate that with all the array of personnel and intelligent gathering facilities at the disposal of the command, no reasonable news had come in connection with the abduction.”