Journalist Kidnap Saga: Four Suspects Arrested

Two days after journalists kidnapped in Abia State were released, four suspects have been arrested in connection with the saga.
Force Public Relations Officer Emmanuel Ojukwu confirmed the development.
According to him, those arrested are currently in police custody and are being questioned about their activities.
“Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the kidnap of the four journalists. They are in our custody and undergoing interrogation,” AFP quoted Ojukwu as saying.
He did not provide further details.

Chairman Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Wahab Oba, Secretary of Zone G NUJ Adolphus Okoronkwo, Acting Secretary NUJ Sylva Okereke, Lagos-based journalist Sola Oyeyipo and their driver Azeez Abdulrauf were abducted for a week.
The journalists were attacked at Umuafouka junction near Ukwakiri in Obingwa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on July 11.

They were on their way back from a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NUJ which took place at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
The kidnappers demanded a ransom of N250 million, but eventually released the journalists on Sunday following the heat put on them by the police.

Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo had travelled down to the region. Hordes of policemen were sent after the kidnappers. According to the journalists, they were moved constantly from place to place as the police closed in.
Apparently sensing trouble, they dumped the hostages in the bush and fled. The newsmen were flown to Lagos afterwards.
The abduction caused outrage in Nigeria. The families of the victims were severely traumatised as they pleaded to the government to help them.

As a result of the incident, the traditional ruler of Amaube-Ime Boro Autonomous Community in Ikwuano LGA Eze Vincent Okezie Uche has been dethroned by the Abia State government. He was also charged to court for allegedly sponsoring kidnapping and armed robbery.
Three other traditional rulers namely Eze Okechukwu Atulobi of Osusu Abala Autonomous Community, Eze Nwabiaraije Eneogwe of Ababyi Autono-mous Community and Eze S. Onwukwe of Abala Ibeme Autonomous Community, all in Obingwa LGA were suspended.

Meanwhile, twenty-four hours after he was let off the hook of kidnappers, Oba yesterday confessed that he thought his world had ended when he stumbled into some lifeless human bodies in the forest he held hostage along with four other persons.
He added that the kidnappers had threatened not to allow the 2011 general election in Abia State if the state government “does not address their concerns and fears”. They asked the government to explain its failure to pay salaries of the state public servants, lukewarm attitude of the federal government to amnesty programme and high unemployment rate.

Oba said all the kidnapped NUJ officials had lost hope of living at the ugly sight of corpses, which he said, they saw in different parts of the bush where the kidnappers kept them in chains and made to sleep on the grass for one week.
He explained that the kidnappers blindfolded them each time they “moved in the bush. Few times we were allowed to move freely. We saw corpses. We were frightened at the horrible sight of corpses. We did not know how they were killed. We then said if these people could be killed, we were trying to figure out what would happen.

“We even thought the same thing could happen to us. We were so frightened. We also saw that the place was desolate. You can walk for 30 minutes without sign of any movement except the police. If they kill one hundred persons in that bush per day, no person will know. What we saw in the bush terrified and horrified us. I actually saw two corpses.
“But my colleagues saw three corpses in the bush. I am sure there would be avoiding some of these corpses. For us to see three, it means it was inevitable that we must pass through that path. When our faces were covered, we might pass by a number of corpses in the desolate forest where the kidnappers held us,” the chairman said.

On 2011 elections, Oba revealed the resolve of the kidnappers to disrupt the next elections and that they would not allow the elections to take place in Abia State at all unless the governments adequately address their concerns and fears contained in a sheet of paper the kidnappers handed over to the kidnapped shortly before their release.

Oba said the paper “contains different issues, which they said pushed them into kidnapping. The kidnappers accused the Abia State Government of not paying salaries. They also cited the lukewarm attitude of the federal government to amnesty programme. They accused the governments of marginalizing their communities. They complained about unemployment rate and high poverty level in the country. They promise to continue kidnapping until their concerns and fears are addressed.”

He commended the Nigeria Police despite their challenges and obvious constraints, but called on the federal government “to do more for the Nigeria Police, more especially as we approach the 2011 general elections. The federal government must work harder to ensure that we have credible elections in the country.”
Source: Thisday Newspapers – www.thisdayonline.com

1 COMMENT

  1. I really appreciate the job being done by the police officers who arrested those suspect,for them to have got them arrested they have done a wonderful job.cause if not for them and for the help of God they will not realize those journalist without collecting a penny from them.Keep it up,kudos to the police.