Konbowei Benson, the Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government (SSG), says he gave N4 million and two phones to kidnappers to release his 80-year-old mother, Betinah Benson.
Mr Benson disclosed that a “token gift of N4 million and two android phones” were given and not a ransom to the kidnappers, though they had demanded N500 million.
He noted that though five family members had been victims of kidnapping in Bayelsa, the SSG vowed never to pay a ransom. He claimed that he had trusted in the security agencies and God to secure his mother’s release.
“Mama is back to the house, and I want to give thanks to God and the security team in the state,” said Mr Benson. “I am so happy that my mother is back. Even if I tell people that ransom was not paid, they will not believe me.”
According to him, when the abductors demanded N500 million, “I stood my ground.”
But Mr Benson added, “Even when I said I would not pay, I gave them (the kidnappers) a token to allow mama to return home.”
The police command in Bayelsa said Ms Benson abducted on July 20 from her Ekeki residence in Yenagoa, was freed.
Echeng Echeng, the police commissioner in Bayelsa, confirmed the development at the residence of the SSG shortly after handing over the 80-year-old to family members.
Mr Echeng claimed that the pressure from the police led to her release.
”Our message to those involved in such heinous act is that it is a crime, and no matter how involved you are, you will be arrested,” Mr Echeng warned.
The octogenarian was jubilant when she was handed over to her son on Sunday evening in the presence of relatives and security operatives.
Police had arrested three suspects in connection with the abduction.