It was learnt that Mrs Ekereke, a senior nursing officer, was kidnapped on new year day by suspected hoodlums from her home in Ikot Akpankuk, Ukanafun Local Government Area.
A source who demanded his identity be hidden, told our correspondent in Uyo on Wednesday, that the assailants later reduced the ransom to one million naira when they knew that the family could not meet up with the N10m ransom.
The source added, “The reduction has to do with the fact that there is no cash to meet their earlier demand of N10m.”
An indigene of the area, Etim Umoh, said the hoodlums kidnapped the lady in place of her husband, who failed to honour a letter the hoodlums sent to him demanding N1m or risk death.
He said, “It has become the usual practice here for leaders of criminal gangs to sent letters to prospective targets, mostly civil servants, businessmen and politicians demanding a certain amount of money or be attacked or kidnapped for ransom.”
According to him, a school principal of Community Secondary School, Nkek, a suburb of Ukanafun LGA was gruesomely murdered last year for refusing to pay N1m to a group of gangsters.
The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, who took over the command on Tuesday, assured that he would do his best possible to sustain peace in Ukanfun and Etim Ekpo areas of the state.
He assured of reforming the operational strategies of some police departments including Anti-Cultism, Anti-Kidnapping, Anti-Robbery, State Intelligence Bureau and Quick Response Squads, with a view to ridding the state of criminal elements.
“To make Akwa Ibom State the safest in Nigeria, I assured you that the morale of the personnel would be raised through attractive welfare packages.
“Let me, therefore, warn that tough time awaits criminal elements in the state. The command will make it very difficult for you to succeed,” he said.