THE Edo State commissioner of police, Phillip Ogbadu, has dismissed reports that a kidnapped U.S.-based Edo prince, Dennis Abuda, whose corpse was discovered after the payment of an undisclosed ransom, died from gunshot injuries.
Speaking as a guest during the Sunrise Daily aired on Channels TV on Friday, Ogbadu suggested that the deceased might have been hypertensive and probably died from shock and distress, as no gunshot wound was found on his retrieved body.
“There was no open injury on the body of late Abuda. It appears that the victim was hypertensive, but the hospital is yet to give us a report on that. The shock and the distress are part of the things that made him to die easily, but whatever happened, it is the kidnappers that are responsible for the death,” Ogbadu said.
Previous accounts of the incident claimed that the deceased was shot dead by his abductors after it was discovered that he had become too weak to cope with the long walk into the forest.
Ogbadu also stated that although six suspected kidnappers operating along the Benin-Lagos bypass had been arrested by the command, stressing that the actual kidnappers of the Edo prince were killed in a gunfire exchange with the police which occurred in the bush when his team, along with other security operatives, local hunters and vigilante group launched a manhunt on them.
“We actually went into the bush with the vigilante and with all other security agencies that accompanied us and while we were doing the combing, we intercepted one of them and one of the victims identified him as the person that collected the ransom. He now led us to the camp,” Ogbadu explained.
“While we were approaching the camp, they started firing and it was a free-for-all fight. In the process, four of them were brought down. Further combing of the bush led us to the recovery of the corpse of this man (Dennis Abuda) that was on his way to the airport,” he added.
Speaking further, the police boss added, “Actually, it is very unfortunate that we have this incident but right now, all the kidnappers that operate on that route, we have been able to arrest many of them. We have six of them in our custody while the actual kidnappers were killed in the exchange of gun-fire at the camp.”
A video has now surfaced online in which the late Abuda was seen spraying dollars while dancing to songs accompanied by sounds produced from local musical instruments during a celebration. This might have given credence to police commissioner’s hunch that “his kidnap appears to have some connotations of internal connection, as if they knew him before.”
Reacting to the news of his death, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, through a statement signed by head, media, public relations and protocols, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, condoled with the Abuda family, describing the death as “very unfortunate, sad and callous.”
Meanwhile, the Fugar Progressive Union, the apex socio-cultural umbrella body of all Fugar people worldwide, has called for a thorough investigation into the death of Abuda who until his unfortunate death was President of the Fugar America Foundation.
In a statement signed by its national secretary, Solomon Obommighie, the union urged all relevant security agencies operating in the state to unravel the mysteries surrounding his death, even as it urged the state government to strengthen security in Edo State.
“We also appeal to the Governor of Edo State to continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to strengthen the security network to protect Fugarians, Fugar and the entire citizens of the state from the incessant attacks by these criminal elements,” the statement read.
Late Dennis Abuda reportedly left Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area in the early hours of Saturday, 30th January 2021, and was headed for Lagos to catch a flight back to the U.S. when his vehicle was accosted by the kidnappers. He and three others were abducted. The other three abductees were said to have been released after ransom payments were made.