15 January 2013

Nigeria: Bayelsa Speaker's Mother Kidnapped

Photo: Vanguard
Bayelsa Speaker's mother, Betinah Okunwa Benson.

Even as the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Friday Kumbowei Benson, is still trying to extricate himself from allegation of misappropriation of N78 million belonging to the state government, armed gunmen Monday abducted his 78-year-old mother, Mrs. Betinah Okunwa Benson, at her country home in Korokorosei, Southern Ijaw area of the state.

According to a statement from the office of the Speaker, he said his mother was abducted at about 12.30a.m. Monday by unidentified gunmen who came in two speed boats.

"Information reaching the office of the Speaker indicates that the gunmen, who came in two speed boats shot sporadically into the air to scare away people before going away with their victim. The incident has been reported to the police," the statement read.

The kidnap of the old woman is coming on the heels of accusations by the people of his community of imposing his brother, Iniokpoemi Friday Benson, on the people as the community development chairman even though his tenure had expired.

The youths of Korokorosei community threatened that the action would be resisted.

Even as the news of the kidnapped of the Speaker's mother was being received, a statement was circulated by some people on behalf of the Korokorosei community saying that the meeting where the Speaker's brother was re-elected as chairman was legal.

The unsigned statement which also had the name of Iniokpoemi Benson as signatory among 12 others, insisted he was not the first person to seek re-election to the CDC chairmanship of the community, arguing that the opposition against the move is unwarranted.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Assembly Speaker are pointing accusing fingers at five former local government council chairmen sacked by the House of Assembly last year following the Speaker's claim last week of an alleged sponsored impeachment plot against him.

When contacted, the Coordinator of the Media Centre of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, Lt. Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, said he was not aware of the incident.

But the spokesperson of the state police command, Mr. Fidelis Odunna, confirmed the incident.

"Yes, the Mother of the Bayelsa Speaker has been kidnapped and we have dispatched our men into the area with a view of unravelling those behind the kidnap."

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