For most women from the coastal communities of the Niger Delta, the leisure of diving into the river and engaging in the rigorous exercise of swimming reduces with age. And at 69, you are expected to gently paddle your canoe and fish for the family’s consumption.
But for Mrs. Esther Akpe, mother of the leader of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Peter Peretorobo Akpe, who was abducted from her residence in Sagbama Local Government Area, the swimming she engaged in to escape her abductors on Tuesday could compete for national or Olympic records.
According to a family source, who was one of the first people to speak with her after her freedom, Mrs. Akpe said her escape was miraculous as the confusion within the ranks of the kidnappers aided her release.
Two of the kidnappers, she was quoted as saying, were with her while others were in the creeks, where the police allegedly engaged them in a shoot-out. Realising that the game was slipping out of their hands, the two other kidnappers were allegedly confused, with one of them mistakenly shooting himself in the leg after they had decided to move her to another village.
It was at this stage that Mrs. Akpe decided to take her destiny into her hands by attempting to escape. “Mama said that as she was kept in the bush while they tried to look for a place in the village, she decided to escape. She ran through the bush and swam across the river before she got to a safe place, from where she saw a farmer and explained her plight to him.
Mrs. Akpe’s escape was further made easy by her ability to recall the phone numbers of two of her children, including the lawmaker’s, who were contacted by the farmers.
After giving them the adequate description of her location, Peter Akpe reportedly contacted security agents, who went to the area and brought her to Yenagoa.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso- Markson, quoted the Special Adviser to the governor on security, Col. Bernard Kenebai as saying it was a combined team of personnel of the State Security Services (SSS), the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) and the Police that mounted pressure on the kidnappers before the lawmaker’s mother was released.
Kenebai said Mrs. Akpe was rescued by the team in Buluo- Angiama in Delta State without any ransom paid to the kidnappers.