The government of Delta State has denied paying the sum of N500 million to secure the release of Edwin Clark’s son, Ebikeme Clark from his abductors.
In a statement signed by the secretary to the state government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay, the government said it did not part with such amount of money.
“The attention of the Delta State Government has been drawn to a release by a group called MEND, alleging that the Delta State Government parted with the sum of N500 million as ransom for the release of Mr. Ebikeme Clarke, son of Chief E. K. Clarke, who was kidnapped and released a few days ago.
“In the said statement, it was also alleged that the kidnap was stage managed by Ebikeme Clarke and the police to swindle the State Government of such an amount.
“The Delta State Government wishes to State categorically that it did not part with any money as ransom for the release of Mr. Ebikeme Clarke. It is the policy of the Government not to pay or encourage the payment of ransom by families as this encourages more kidnappings. The state government has had previous cases of high profile kidnappings where the victims had been kept much longer than Ebikeme. The government did not pay any ransom.
“What then is so special about Mr. Ebikeme Clarke that will make the State Government pay ransom?” asked the statement.
“Secondly the volume of money being mentioned, N500 million, makes the allegation very foolish for anyone who knows how government runs and the logistics of that volume of fund movement, considering the fact that there were only two working days during the period.
“From the statement by the so called MEND, it is obvious that they are out not just to blackmail the State Government but also Chief E. K. Clarke and the amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
“The Delta State Government wishes to advise the people of the Niger Delta especially those still hiding under the umbrella of MEND, that the tactics of blackmail, falsehood, rumour mongering and intimidation in the region are gone. The region is in a phase of infrastructure and human capital development catch up which will ultimately ensure peace in the region. Let all hands be on deck,” the statement read.