The police in Akwa Ibom have a village head and four suspects for allegedly abducting 19 ExxonMobil staff members.
MacDon Achebe, the state police public relations officer, disclosed this to NAN in Eket local government area of the state.
A police source said the suspects were arrested after the ExxonMobil staff travelling from Port-Harcourt for a crew change of duty at Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT), were abducted at Ibeno local government area.
“Initially four persons were arrested in connection with the abduction of 19 workers of ExxonMobil but the suspects told us the village head approves their abduction,” Achebe explained.
The spokesman said the suspects claimed that the village head of Atibe, Inam Unanaowo, gave them the approval to abduct the ExxonMobil staff because the company does not recognise or employ them.
“As I speak, they are in detention and swift investigation is ongoing to ascertain the true nature and why they should be involved in such an unholy act,” the police said.
“On the conclusion of the investigation, they will be charged to court appropriately and the law will take its course.”
According to him, the victims were kidnapped on Thursday, July 5, around 4:30a.m and the suspects were arrested on June 6 by security men.
Also speaking, Kokoette Abraham, a community leader in Afaha Eket, said it was unfortunate for the suspected abductors to have mentioned the village head of Atibe.
He said the “victims hijacked the workers and took them to their hideout demanding money but unknown to them, the workers had put a call to the police.
“The bus was coming from Port-Harcourt to QIT for a crew change of duty offshore but the suspects ambushed them along Marina road,” he said.
“The suspects ambushed them and took them to Atibe village square, their hideout, where they covered the victims with sack bags on their faces.”
Abraham said one of the suspects was caught with pistol, adding one of the workers was beaten to death in detention.