Saturday, 20 July 2019 05:38

How Desperate, callous manner Siasia’s mother was abducted

 

Odoni, a riverine community in Sagabama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, was unusually quiet on Tuesday. The tarred road to the sleefrom the Sampou junction along the East-West Road was lonely. Sampou is a neighboring community to Odoni.

Travelers to Odoni first begin their journey from Sampou road, but within a minute, the road branches off to Odoni. It was a mild sunny mid-day and the road begged for activities. Nobody was seen trekking. No vehicles. Only the deafening sound of a motorcycle hurrying to get to its destination was heard occasionally. Within five minutes of driving, a signboard indicating the community led to another detour.

The road dividing Odoni was lonelier. Bungalows without perimeter fences were seen at both sides of the road. One of the buildings on the left side of the road is the ancestral home of Samson Siasia, a former coach and player of the Super Eagles.

Madam Beauty Ogere, the 80-year-old mother of the former skipper was abducted from the apartment on Monday. Signs and sounds of the sinister operation carried out by the gunmen were still fresh. Odoni is divided into three. They are Tamo Odoni, Bekubo and Opogi. The Siasias belong to Tamo Odoni.

 

Beauty never knew that danger lurked around when she went to sleep on Sunday, July 14. Maybe her last son, Amananowei, had a premonition. Amananowei, who is about 40 years old, did not sleep in the house that night. While he had always slept in the house, on that particular day, he claimed that his wife was sick and needed some drugs. He went to buy the drugs but failed to come back. So, only Beauty and her 93-year-old husband, Harrison Siasia, were left in the house.

The evil operation

The unknown and unnumbered night marauders came through the River Nun, located a few kilometres away from the house. In the cover of darkness, they marched through the streets while residents snored away. They arrived at about 2 am and in no time got to the building of their victim. It was as easy as they come, but they shattered the peace of the sleeping community.

There were signs that they knew the exact location of their victim. They knew the window that led to the room. Therefore, they tried to gain access to Beauty’s room through the window. Having torn the window net, they made some attempts but failed because of the iron protector used to secure the window.

They came to the main entrance to the house and met an iron gate. Elizabeth, one of Siasia’s sisters, who lives in the community, said they broke the padlock used for the see-through gate and proceeded to the main entrance door. Signs on the door showed they hit it with a hammer and forced it open. They made their way through the living room into Beauty’s room.

Already, the aged woman knew there was danger. She was awake screaming for help, but there was nobody around to assist her. They bundled the unwilling woman out of the house as she sobbed and pleaded for mercy.

In his account, Pa Harrison, the oldest man in the community, said he was helpless as the abductors showed no mercy. Describing himself as the king of the town. He said: “I was in my bedroom when all these things were happening. But they could not enter my room. I locked myself inside. But if they had entered my room, I would have shown them my power. Nobody can fight with me and kill me.

“I heard the noise as they were taking my wife away. I was shouting and telling them, ‘if you are a man, I am here, come. Open my door and come. I will deal with you.’ They were afraid of me. I didn’t come out until they left. But I didn’t know they came to take my wife. It was later I heard her voice saying, ‘They came to take me again’.

“I felt very sad. Why will they come and take my wife again? The first time, they abducted her and she slept 10 days in the bush. Now they came and took her again. What did she do to them? This Odoni is becoming something else. The last time they took her, we paid N60,000 ransom.

“I am worried that they have not even called. They took her without her mobile handset. They didn’t even allow her to take her drugs. My wife is hypertensive and she is on drugs. How will she survive? I am asking them to return my wife quickly. My wife has done nothing to you people. Bring my wife back to me. We have no money to pay.”

One kidnap too many

Elizabeth, the elder sister to Samson Siasia, has been around the house since the incident occurred. She described the second kidnap as one too many.

“I am close to her and I come every day to take care of them. I was called on the telephone that Mama had been abducted again. When I came to the house, I saw everywhere scattered.

“They ransacked her room, maybe looking for money and other valuables. These people lack the fear of God. There is no respect any more. I feel pain that they abducted a woman at that age,” she said.

In fact, the incident has unsettled the Siaisa family. None of them imagined that after surviving the first abduction, the ailing woman would return to kidnappers’ den a second time. On 16th November 2015, about four years ago, a similar fate befell Beauty. In a similar operation and at the same time of 2 am, unknown gunmen attacked their house and whisked her away.

She spent days in an unknown camp and ransom was later paid to secure her release. Then, Samson Siasia was a coach of the Nigerian U-23 football team. In fact, a few days after he arrived Gambia with his team for the Olympic Game, Siasia got the unfortunate news of his mother’s abduction.

Siasia’s cousin, Collins Egbeya, was one of the early visitors immediately the incident occurred. Egbeya has not been scarce around the house. He said they were nor expecting another abduction after the first one and lamented that the victim was too old to be mishandled by anybody.

Asked how he got to know about the abduction, he said: “I read about it in The Nation newspaper online. Immediately I read it, I was not happy, because this is the second time this thing is happening. I don’t know what the old woman did to them for them to come and kidnap her.

“So, I was not happy and I had to rush down to the community. But before I came down, I called his other cousin who is in the community. He confirmed it.

“I am begging the kidnappers in the name of God to please return her. We are pleading with them in the name of God. They should please release her unconditionally. We don’t have money. The woman is old and should not be subjected to any harsh treatment.”

Egbeya said they were worried that the kidnappers took her without her drugs and mobile handset, adding that days after the abduction, they had yet to establish contact with any member of the family.

“We are worried. The entire community is worried. We are begging them in the name of God to return her. We are pleading in the name of God,” he said.

Also, Dennis, a younger brother of Coach Siasia, confirmed the abduction lamenting that the marauders took away their mother without her hypertensive drugs and mobile phone.

He said: “The abductors have not contacted the family. We have reported to the police. She was taken away without taking along her drugs. Even if they ask her for our numbers, she would not be able to help because she cannot recall mobile numbers. We are full of prayers and hoping she would be released soon.”

Dennis spoke on Tuesday before the kidnappers reportedly demanded a ransom of N70million.

‘They also took my 66-year-old mother and her 17-year-old sister’

Beauty was not the only victim of the nocturnal onslaught. As the gunmen took Beauty and made their way out of the community, they stormed another house along a concrete road. In a similar style of operation, they broke into the house and made their way to a room where a 66-year-old woman was sleeping alongside her 17-year-old daughter. They ransacked the room, turning it inside out. They seized the woman and her granddaughter and whisked them away. They escaped through the River Nun on speedboats.

Donana Amabetare is the son of the woman. Amabetare lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he hustles to make ends meet. He identified her mother as Mrs. Florence Semitare Donana. He, however, wondered why any of his family members would be targeted for kidnapping.

“I don’t know why they chose to kidnap members of my family. Among all the buildings along the road, why did they isolate our own to attack? We don’t have any prominent person in this family. Only my elder brother runs a funeral service and the money he makes is barely enough to feed,” he said.

Speaking further, he said: “I live in Port Harcourt. I was called in the night that my mum had been kidnapped. So, when I came, we found that the parlour door was broken. The room door was also broken, and both of them were kidnapped. They scattered the whole room.

“They took her through the waterways. I don’t know why all these things are happening. We are peace-loving people. We don’t have problem with people. We don’t even have the money, so we are surprised, because we don’t exactly know what is happening.”

Amabetare said he was worried about her younger sister who just finished her secondary school and how the incident would affect her psyche. He asked the kidnappers not to molest her sister and to bring them back unhurt.

He said: “When I heard the news, I felt so sad because it was something that we never expected. But we are believing that with the help of the community and security and everybody, they will come back to us. We are appealing to the kidnappers to release them unconditionally.

“My mom was very sick. Last week, before the incident, I bought drugs for her and she was on drugs even when she was kidnapped. She even went to the hospital. She didn’t go with her drugs. They went with her phone, but since then, the phone has been switched off. So, we are waiting for them to make a contact.”

Police launch manhunt

The police in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Butswat Asinim, said they had launched a manhunt to locate the whereabouts of the kidnappers and rescue the victims.

Confirming the incident, Butswat said: “On 15 July, 2019 at about 0200hours, unknown gunmen who were heavily armed came through the waterways of the River Nun and invaded the residence of one Mrs Beauty Siasia, ‘f’ 80 years in the riverine village of Odoni, Sagbama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, and whisked her away through the waterways to an unknown destination.

“The Commissioner of Police Bayelsa State Command and the command’s Tactical Team have visited the scene of the crime. The command in collaboration with other security stakeholders have launched manhunt to apprehend the killers and rescue the victim. Investigation is ongoing.”

Shortly after the statement, the Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, visited the scene of the crime on the same day and assessed the route the kidnappers took to the home of the Siasias. Anozia was also found in the community the next day as the police continued with their investigations.

Although no suspect had been arrested, a source from the community asked the police to work with the theory of an insider operation. The source, who spoke in confidence, said everybody around the woman should be investigated. He said the mode of operation showed that someone inside the house must have been involved in it.

“When they came, they went straight to the exact window of the woman’s room. After they failed to access the room through the window, they broke into the house through the living room. They moved straight to the woman’s room and took her. There is something wrong somewhere. How come that was the only day the woman and her husband were left alone in the house?” he wondered.

 

 

TheNation

Read 241 times