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Matthew Opoto, the ruler and head of the Abissa Council of Chiefs in the Rivers State local council of Akuku-Toru, has been taken hostage by assailants at sea. Opoto was kidnapped by a squad of gunmen in a motorboat on Friday as he was making his way to his settlement in the Abissa river.

NewsReport gathered that the men were said to have intercepted the boat he was in, alongside some of his council of chiefs. After identifying Opoto, it was gathered that they dragged him into one of their boats and drove off.

A native of the area, Minaibiye Dolphin, who confirmed the incident, yesterday, told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the monarch was a few minutes away from his destination when the gunmen struck.

He said: “The chairman of Abissa council of chiefs, Matthew Opoto, was travelling with some of his chiefs, and about five minutes to the community, gunmen came in a speed boat, identified him, and took him away.

“We have no information about him. The entire community is worried. The chiefs, elders, youths and women…everybody is worried because there is no information about him until now.”

Dolphin called on the security agencies, including the Nigeria Navy Ship, Pathfinder, and the Rivers State government to intervene and facilitate his release.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident, saying already a manhunt and investigation had begun to ensure the monarch’s release.

He said: “Yes, we are aware. We are making frantic efforts to ensure his early release as well as apprehend the abductors.”

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