Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have kidnapped a former Chairman of the Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Julius Osahon and some co-travellers along the East-West Road, in the Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Osahon, who is the Bayelsa State correspondent of The Guardian Newspaper, was reportedly attacked while heading to the press centre at Warri, Delta State, when he was abducted together with 18 other passengers.
THE PUNCH reports that the abductors, who attacked on Sunday also shot to death a driver of Sunny Eru Motors.
It was gathered that the hoodlums contacted the journalist’s wife, demanding N5m as ransom.
A Warri-based lawyer, Mr Lucky Egboyi, who escaped from the scene by a whisker, told journalists that he was returning from Bayelsa, where he went for a case, when their vehicle ran into the herdsmen.
According to him, the herdsmen shot the driver in the head and kidnapped several passengers.
He said; “It was a narrow escape for me and a few others because we had to run into the bush. The policemen who came ran away with their van.”
The Chairman of the Warri Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Okies Veeky, described the incident as saddening and appalling.
He added; “This shows that there is no good security network in that area, nay the whole of Delta State. The DSS, army and the police should live up to expectations. They should help us.”
The leadership of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Bayelsa State, also condemned the abduction of the reporter and other passengers.
The Chairman and Secretary of the group, Chris Eze and Bassey Willie, respectively, on Tuesday called on security agencies to rescue the victims.
Similarly, the Bayelsa State Council of the NUJ, in a statement by the Chairman and Secretary, Samuel Numonengi and Ogio Ipigansi, respectively, urged the captors to free the victims unconditionally.
It was gathered that five women among the passengers were released on Monday, March 28.
The Delta State Police Command, however, said three persons had been arrested in connection with the incident.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Ali, said the police swung into action on Sunday after receiving a report on the abductions.
He noted that operatives recovered some of the victims’ items, adding that efforts were on to catch the kidnappers and rescue the passengers.
Ali said, “We assure you of arresting the kidnappers within a space of time. This particular gang that has been terrorising the area, three of them, were arrested with AK-47 rifles.”