Real estate magnate, guest kidnapped in Rivers
By Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
A real estate magnate, Minafuro Jumbo, who is also a businessman/money lender, based in Bonny Island Rivers State, has been kidnapped along with his guest, Lawrence Green, a taxi driver.
Two policemen, a sergeant and corporal, were critically injured during the operation.
While the corporal died from gunshot wounds, the sergeant was seriously injured.
No fewer than 20 gunmen, in a commando style, at 11.23 pm on Sunday, stormed the businessman’s residence along Coconut Estate Road, very close to Simidia Junction, off Abalamabie Road, Bonny, the headquarters of Bonny Local Government Area.
They were reported to have whisked him and his guest to an unknown destination with standby speed boats.
Jumbo hails from Georgekiri in Jumbo Major House while Green is of Iwoama, both on Bonny Island.
It was gathered through from indigenes of Bonny, the base of Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, that dynamites were used by the criminals to blow up the gate of the highly-fortified residence.
Witnesses revealed that the kidnappers, on arrival in speed boats at the Coconut Estate’s waterfront, close to the real estate magnate’s residence, were chanting “Asawana, Asawana,” with the operation lasting for about one hour.
It was also gathered that the kidnappers acted on information that the businessman had just been paid a huge sum of money by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which also operates on Bonny Island.
The hoodlums were said to have demanded for the money, which Jumbo allegedly declined to surrender.
This, it was learnt, led to his being shot on his right leg before he was dragged to their waiting vehicle from where they headed for the jetty to an unknown destination.
As the kidnappers were disappearing with their victims, they reportedly shot sporadically into the air, to prevent any challenge from security operatives.
Body of the corporal was later deposited at the Ashes-to-Ashes mortuary in Port Harcourt while the injured sergeant is receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Bonny.
A Bonny indigene, who preferred anonymity, told The Nation on phone: “The marauding kidnappers dropped off at a jetty off King Perekule Bypass (Berger Road) in Bonny and they mounted a checkpoint, frisking road users, until they saw a Toyota Hilux van, which they seized and drove to Jumbo’s house at Abalamabie.
“When policemen in Bonny were contacted by some residents for help to foil the kidnap, they (policemen) rushed to the businessman’s house in their patrol vehicle but they were told that the victims had been taken away through the Coconut Estate waterfront.
“It was while the policemen were on their way to check the Coconut Estate waterfront for the victims and the kidnappers that the security personnel were ambushed by the criminals, whose reinforcement were already on standby at the waterfront.
“The killed policeman was the last to disembark from the vehicle and he was hit by bullets while the driver of the police van was also hit in the groin by a bullet.
“The kidnappers later pulled the body of the terribly-shot policeman to the nearby bush where they sprayed him with more bullets to ensure that he was dead, before disappearing with the victims in the steaming speed boats.”
The whereabouts of the abductees had not been established while no contact had been made with their families to demand ransom.
While reacting to the ugly incident, the acting Leader of Bonny Youth Federation (BYF), Tamuno-Opubo Wilcox, expressed surprise over the activities of the daring kidnappers in Bonny and its environs while stating that the criminals had local collaborators.
Wilcox also called for proper profiling of residents of Bonny and he urged the security agencies to be more proactive and assertive.
Rivers State police Spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the incident.
Omoni also confirmed that a police corporal (name withheld) was killed with another police sergeant critically injured during the operation when they attempted to foil the kidnap.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, he assured of security of lives and property in Rivers while sympathising with the family members of the slain policeman.