Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Police arrest four suspects over journalists' kidnap

Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, has said that four persons have been arrested in connection with the abduction of four journalists.

The journalists, Wahab Oba, Lagos State Chairman of the NUJ, Zone G Secretary, Adolphous Okoronkwo, Assistant Secretary, Sylva Okonkwo, Shola Oyeyipo and their driver, Azeez Abdulrauf, were abducted at Ukpabiri in Abia on July 11.

They were rescued on July 18 by the police in Obioma Ngwa Local Government in Abia after a week in captivity.

Ojukwu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the police arrested the four suspects in an operation to rescue the kidnapped journalists.

"We have four persons in custody in respect of this offence. We have four arrests made but we are also in hot pursuit of other fleeing members of the gang and we shall catch up with them and bring them to justice," he said.

Ojukwu said that more than 600 persons have been arrested for kidnapping in different parts of the country and that the strike by the courts delayed their prosecution.

He said some of the kidnappers had been charged to court and their cases were ongoing.

"Fighting kidnapping is not solely the responsibility of the Nigerian police. It is our common problem and all of us will have to put our acts together, join hands to fight the menace.

"Kidnappers do not live in police barracks, they are not policemen, they live with the people and people should be able to fish them out and inform the police to arrest them.

"We are doing all we can to make sure that we have the wherewithal to pursue the crime of kidnapping and other violent crimes," he said.

Meanwhile, State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja on Monday paraded four persons suspected to be members of a kidnapping gang operating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Director of the FCT Command of SSS, Mike Fubara, who paraded the suspects before newsmen, said the four men were aged from 24 to 26 years.

Fubara said that the SSSe had rescued two men, Maurice Gonga and Abel Aguele, allegedly abducted by the gang along Abuja-Keffi road on July 12 and July 14, respectively.

According to him, leaders of the gang, residing in Port Harcourt, are now at large.

Fubara explained that the kidnappers took their victims to a thick forest in Masaka village in Nasarawa State and demanded N50 million ransom to set them free.

He said that the families of the victims alerted SSS and after negotiations, the kidnappers reduced their demand to N30 million and finally N500,000.

Fubara, however, said the victims were released on July 16 after some members of the gang were arrested during a "sting operation" by SSS.

He said the kidnappers, from Rivers, Lagos and Abia states had pretended to be policemen on duty at different locations in Mararaba and Masaka, some 11kilometres from the FCT.

Daily Independent

Related stories: President Goodluck Jonathan - Kidnapping is a National embarrassment 

Kidnapped Journalists freed 

 Kidnapping culture in Nigeria on the rise

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