gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Sunday abducted Mrs. Cynthia Diden, one of the wives of the member representing Warri-North state constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Michael Diden, popularly known as Ejele.
Ejele is a close ally of the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
The suspected kidnappers, who had contacted the family, reportedly demanded N200m as ransom before she would be released.
Associates of the lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on Wednesday that she was kidnapped around 7pm on Sunday at the Effurun Roundabout in the Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the victim was returning home from work when the incident occurred.
Findings by PUNCH Metro revealed that she was kidnapped by fierce-looking gunmen numbering five, who had trailed her to the spot.
A family source, who confirmed the incident, said her husband decided to keep the kidnap from the public following the abductors’ warning.
Another member of the family revealed that the lawmaker, a notable youth leader in the Niger Delta region, had been having a running battle with some youths in the state.
The source said, “The kidnappers contacted Ejele and demanded a ransom of N500m which was later reduced to N200m after negotiations on Tuesday.”
Our correspondent gathered that Ejele’s eldest wife, Mary, who is the Special Adviser on Women Mobilisation to Okowa, had been kidnapped in 2009.
She was said to have been released after some days in the kidnappers’ den.
Efforts to confirm Cynthia’s kidnap from the lawmaker, who also owns a church in the Sapele area of the state, proved abortive as his telephone lines were not connecting.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Police Command, SP Celestina Kalu, confirmed the kidnap to our correspondent in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
She said, “The kidnap is confirmed. The police are making efforts to track and apprehend the suspects. We want to assure her family that she will be rescued unhurt.”
Kalu also confirmed that the kidnappers had contacted the family, but did not say if ransom was demanded.