The abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mr. Federal Otokito, regained his freedom on Monday.
His abductors released him five days after he was kidnapped from his Otuokpoti community residence in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ben Nebolisa, and the State Director of the State Security Services, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, presented Mr. Otokito to Governor Douye Diri on Monday evening at Government House, Yenagoa.
Addressing Government House correspondents after his release, Governor Diri announced the deposition of the Otuokpoti community paramount ruler, Chief A.C.T Wongo and appointed Chief Rescue Abe in acting capacity.
The governor also announced the sacking of the community’s development committee chairman, Azibalua Amon and replaced him with Jerry Offor in acting capacity while the youth president, Emolem Igue was also removed and replaced with Shedrach Afiemo.
The Governor said investigations revealed that they were complicit in the kidnap of the commissioner.
He reiterated the state government’s zero tolerance to crime and kidnapping.
Governor Diri warned all those who see kidnapping as a business to desist as his government will not hesitate to invoke the extant laws and make the state uncomfortable for criminal elements.
He called on all community leaders to remain vigilant and ensure that peace prevailed in their communities as government will not hesitate to sanction anyone found wanting in the discharge of their duties.
Governor Diri, who said preliminary investigation revealed that illegal refining of crude was connected to the kidnap, warned all those involved in such business in the state to stop forthwith.
The state’s helmsman thanked security agencies and all those who availed the government of useful information that led to the release of the commissioner, assuring that his government will continue to make Bayelsa safe for all residents.
His words: “I like to thank God that a member of the state exco who was kidnapped is now here with us.
“I like to also thank the security agencies and all other sources that helped in securing the release of the commissioner.
“Investigation is still ongoing. So we appeal to all in Otuokpoti to keep the peace and security agencies will keep an eagle eye on Otuokpoti and environs.
“Bayelsa will not condone crime and criminality. We have zero tolerance for crime. Let this be a warning to all those who have taken that as a way of life that Bayelsa is not a state for them.
“We have anti-kidnapping laws and they will be invoked at all times. As a government, we will do everything to ensure peace for people of the state.”
Also , the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ben Nebolisa, declared Joshua Abi, Clergy Mabinton, Gift Tebeda and Azin Azin wanted in connection with the kidnap.
In a remark, the rescued commissioner, Mr. Federal Otokito, thanked Governor Diri, his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and all those who worked for his release.
Last Sunday during the Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area 2022 thanksgiving service at Sampou Community, Governor Diri vowed to rescue the kidnapped commissioner unhurt.
He also ruled out the payment of ransom for his release.
Reporting by Alambo Datonye, editing by Daniel Adejo.