The Delta State Government has denied involvement in the kidnap of judges in the employ of the state.
This position was stated by Delta State Commissioner for Information, Chike Ogeah, in response to the allegation by Chief Rita-Lori Ogbebor that the state government was involved in the kidnap of a serving judge and was in the process of kidnapping others.
Ogeah said nothing could be farther from the truth.
Ogeah, on Sunday, said: “It is true that the Okere community and the Delta State Government have an ongoing case at the Warri High Court in a suit instituted by the community over a piece of land in the GRA in Warri, which had been in possession of the government.
"It was a swampy land used for rice farming by prisoners from colonial times.
“However, when prison authorities ceased using the land for rice cultivation, the Delta State Government sand filled it and it became a dumpsite.
"But due to the hazardous nature of the dumpsite, government reclaimed the said land.
“The Okere community had sought the permission of Delta State Government to build a school and community hall on the land.
"This request was turned down and government has proceeded to build a model school on the piece of land.
"Okere community’s resort to the court of law to advance its cause is a legitimate exercise and the suit has nothing to do with the kidnap of Justice Okon as alleged by Chief Ogbebor.
"The kidnap suspects, who have since been apprehended, do not have any case or litigation connected to Justice Okon nor is the judge handling any suit associated with the suspects.
“Obviously, Chief Ogbebor did not understand the status and nature of the case in court.
"If she had taken time to seek government’s side of the story, her view would have been better informed.”
Ogeah said the state government was working with the police to put an end to kidnapping in the state.
He said the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, was committed to protecting all citizens of the state, including judges, adding: “We urge Chief Ogbebor to aid the police in the fight against kidnapping by reporting to the security agencies any person she knows that is involved in this heinous crime of kidnap.”