Abducted but released son of Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Mr Ebekeme Clark, has refuted the claim that he stage-managed his abduction to fleece Delta State government of N500 million.
Clark made this declaration in Warri, on Monday, saying “it is not true; it is all lies.”
Earlier, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had alleged that the incident was a cleverly orchestrated fraud masterminded by Clark, who stage-managed his own abduction.
MEND, in a statement issued on Monday by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, also claimed that a ransom of N500 million was paid by the Delta State government from its security vote and was shared among all those involved in the alleged scam.
According to the statement, “Mr Ebikeme Clark is following in the footsteps of his father, where the senior Clark is among those that hatched the fraudulent Niger Delta amnesty programme which has only made billionaires of a few thugs and himself at the detriment of millions of impoverished indigenes and the peace and security in the region.”
The group also accused the Delta State police command of conspiring with some individuals to perpetrate the alleged phantom abduction and later denied that no ransom was paid.
“It is rather unfortunate that, in a desperate bid for relevance, certain persons, including the Delta State police, will conspire to deceive Nigerians with a phantom abduction, release of the so-called hostage, influence over kidnappers and arrest of suspects and denying the payment of a ransom which has already been shared,” Jomo Gbomo said.
But Clark said “ MEND is dead. Nigeria must move forward. The problem we have now is Boko Haram, not MEND. Those are tricks and a baseless allegation from a faceless and dead group.”
He further disclosed that most of the stories carried by dailies on Monday about his release were not factual, adding that reporters should endeavour to seek audience directly with him to get their facts.
Meanwhile, manhunt for four persons in connection with the kidnap of Clark, had been intensified by the police in Delta State.
Already, six persons are in police net for the abduction.
The state police commissioner, Ikechukwu Aduba, gave the names of those on wanted list to include: Timi, Abel, Adamaw (all without surname) and one Jacob Acoba.
Parading the arrested suspects in Asaba, on Monday, Mr Aduba, who gave their names as Joshua Ogofa, a driver to an ex-militant warlord, who provided the AK-47 used for the operation, David Emevor, the boy who plotted the crime and a native of Kiagbodo Bosin Kevwe, Sylvester Dio, Pius Arhavwara and Prince Meslore, said their arrest was made possible through the collaboration of the police, state government’s Water security committee and Ijaw leaders.
According to him, arrested family members of the suspects facilitated the arrest of the hoodlums.
Aduba disclosed that Bosin provided the Audi 80 salon car used for the operation, while Dio made available the speed boat, as Pius provided the motorcycles used for the operation.
The suspects, according to the police boss, confessed to have kidnapped one Madam Rose of Udu road Warri in which the family paid a N1.8 million ransom.
Meanwhile, a kingpin in the act, David Emevor, has accused the elder statesman and foremost Ijaw leader, Chief E.K Clark of not providing job opportunities for the teeming Ijaw youths hence the reason they went ahead to kidnap the son.
Speaking to reporters while being paraded along with others, the suspect said the elders statesman had done so well for Kiagbodo community and his immediate family but has failed to provide jobs for the youth.
Though he said he regretted his action, David recalled that Chief Boro Okpodu, Special adviser to the governor on security had invited him soon after the kidnap a mission that led to the release of Mr. Ebikeme Clark.
“He call me and say I should tell others that the family had given me N5m so that they can release him. He promised to give me N1.m to better my life.
“So I .deceived my people and that is how the man was released without any ransom paid.’’David stated. – Nigerian Tribune.