Reporters Without Borders today voiced its relief at the release yesterday of four Nigerian journalists who were abducted a week early near Aba, in Abia state, as they were returning from a conference held by the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Akwa Ibom state.
Wahab Oba, president of the journalists’ union in Lagos, Adolphus Okonkwo, journalist on the Voice of Nigeria, Sylvester Okere, a journalist on the privately owned daily The Champion Newspapers, and Sola Oyeyipo, another Lagos-based journalist, were found unharmed in a remote area of Abia state. "We are happy for these journalists that they have been quickly able to get back to their loved-ones and resume their jobs”, Reporters Without Borders said.
No ransom was paid for their release.
13.07.2010 - Four journalists held hostage in Niger delta region
Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the abduction of four journalists – Wahab Obba, the head of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Lagos state, Adolphus Okonkwo of Voice of Nigeria, Sylvester Okere of The Champion Newspapers, and Sola Oyeyipo, another Lagos-based journalist – on 11 June near Aba, in the southeastern state of Abia.
They had been attending a Nigeria Union of Journalists conference in the neighbouring state of Akwa Ibom and were heading back to Lagos when their official NUJ bus was intercepted by gunmen.
“We call for the immediate release of these journalists, who were kidnapped at gunpoint after attending a working meeting,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also urge the Nigerian authorities to do their utmost to establish where they are being held hostage and to negotiate a rapid and favourable outcome with their abductors.”
Several journalists managed to flee when the gunmen intercepted and hijacked the NUJ bus in Abia on the morning of 11 July, but not the four who were taken hostage.
NUJ president Mohammed Garba, who received a phone call from one of the hostages, said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of more than a million dollars for their release. The police are investigating.