Kidnappers free Journalists, Demand Amnesty like that of Niger Delta

The Abia Kidnappers in South-East Nigeria have voluntarily released the four abducted journalists and their driver after a week in captivity and demanded for Special Amnesty similar to the amnesty granted to Niger Delta Militants of South-South of the country to dissuade them from further criminal activities in the region.

The Abia Kidnappers operate in South-Eastern Nigeria while the Niger Delta Militants are more active in the South-South part of the country where the nation’s oil is produced.

The Economic Confidential gathered that the Abia Kidnappers had called officials of Nigerian Union of Journalists that they had released the captives unconditionally in a remote area of Abia State. They also want the media to support their demands for special amnesty and new job opportunities from the government.

The released journalists are Lagos chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Wahab Oba, NUJ Zone G Secretary, Adolphus Okonkwo, Assistant Secretary, Sylva Okeke, Shola Oyeyipo, a Lagos-based journalist, and their driver, Azeez Abdulrauf.

While the released journalists have so far claimed they had been treated well by the kidnappers, it is yet to be clear whether the police or State Security Service (SSS) played any role in their unconditional release. There is likelihood that government of Abia State out of fears of federal government declaring state of emergency in the state, might have played a role in kind or kind to ensure the timely release of the journalists. Some states in Niger Delta in the past used to pay ransoms for release of captured oil workers in those regions

Already the South-East kidnappers have sent a message requesting the Federal Government to grant them amnesty so that they could also lay down their arms and get free monthly allowances and training that could include foreign studies similar to what have been provided to Niger Delta militants. They also want good employments or contracts to sustain themselves and their families.

Only recently the kidnapping phenomena that has been rampant in the Southern part of the country was recorded in the North where a Kano-based businessman, Alhaji Salisu Mataba, was kidnapped in his residence and had to pay his abductors N80 million before he regained freedom. The negotiation was coordinated by the family of the businessman who acted on the instruction of the kidnappers without involving the police for any rescue effort.

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