The alleged kidnap of a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Galilee Police Station, Ute-Ogbeje community in Ika North East Local Government Area of the Delta State and the payment of N3million ransom for his freedom is causing ripples among the police hierarchy in Delta State.
The DPO, simply identified Mr Okoro was allegedly attacked around Onicha-Ugbo and Issele-Uku axis of the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha Expressway on his way to Asaba, the state capital, for an official assignment when he was allegedly kidnapped by gunmen on Saturday though he regained his freedom from his abductors.
However, sources within the Agbor Police Area Command insisted that the DPO was kidnapped when the gunmen overpowered the vehicle conveying the DPO with the sporadic shooting.
But sources among the DPO friends confided in INDEPENDENT that Okoro was said to have been freed after the hoodlums collected N3 million ransom on Sunday and even stated that the DPO was not wearing uniform when he was waylaid by his captors.
It was said that the immediate family members of the DPO mounted pressures on his friends to pay the ransom in order to rescue the DPO against the directive of the Commissioner who was not even carried along during the payment.
Trouble started when the Commissioner was said to have queried the police senior officers who coordinated the gathering of the ransom money, dispatch and payment to the abductors despite releasing enough manpower to fish out the abductors and release the DPO unhurt.
According to our source, the Commissioner was said to have been furious over the inability of his men to rescue their colleagues but fell to the pressures mounted by the DPO’s family members especially when the millions of naira was made available.
“He was heading to Asaba for an official assignment when he was waylaid and abducted to unknown destination on Saturday. We have been trying our best so that the press will not be aware of the incident,” the source revealed.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Adeleke blatantly denied that it was the DPO that was kidnapped by the gunmen on that fateful day, stating that it was a friend of the DPO that was abducted and the victim had since been freed.
According to him, three suspects had been arrested by the command in connection with the incident, noting that he was in touch with the DPO and that the police would never encourage anybody to pay ransom for their kidnapped friend or relative to be freed.
“It was not the DPO that was kidnapped; it was his friend that was kidnapped. Three suspects have been arrested,” CP Adeleke added.
It would be recalled that In 2017, a decomposing corpse believed to be that of the Divisional Police Officer in charge of ‘C’ Division in Asaba, SP Valentine Mbalu, who was abducted in early March 2017 was reportedly found in a bush in Umunede along the Benin/Asaba highway.
Mbalu was abducted at about 4 pm on the 5th of March on his way to Asaba after spending the weekend with his family at Agbor and since then he had been kept incommunicado by his captors until the news of his killing was received.
Some members of the kidnapping gang who allegedly abducted the officer while returning to his duty post in Asaba from Agbor were arrested and confessed to the killing.
Galilee Police Station in Ute-Ogbeje community was built by Fountain of Joy and Comfort Foundation owned by Mr Odili. The station was commissioned by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State in 2017.