Gunmen have abducted a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) ,PortHarcourt, Zonal Office, Chidiebere Onyia, in Rivers State.
Onyia, a nursing mother, was allegedly kidnapped at a gunpoint around 8 pm on Tuesday along the railway line, Woji in Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area of the state on her way home after work.
It was gathered that a gunman had ordered her to wind down at the traffic and when she did, he ordered her to drive to the corner and park.
According to an eyewitness, the hoodlum while displaying his gun followed her and also directed her to step out of her vehicle and move to a waiting Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Narrating the ordeal, the victim’s colleague who was in the car with her said, “We were trapped at the traffic at Woji railway when an armed man came to the car and ordered Onyia to wind down. When she did, he brought out a gun and asked her to quietly move to a corner and park.”
“At that point, three other men with gun emerged and asked her to step out from her vehicle and follow them to their waiting SUV, as she fearfully followed them, one of the men came back to our car and collected our hand bags, phones and other valuables and they drove off to unknown destination.”
The State Police Public Relation’s Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, has confirmed the incident, assuring that the police is working tirelessly to ensure that the victim is released timely and unhurt.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has called for the immediate release of Onyia.
In a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and Secretary, Ike Wigodo, the NUJ condemned the alleged kidnap, describing it as inhuman and heinous, especially against a journalist and a nursing mother.
The statement noted that the incessant attacks on journalists in recent times are becoming worrisome and therefore unacceptable.
According to the statement, “it is worrisome and regrettable that journalists are now victims of abduction and held for whatever reason. A fundamental prerequisite for a free media is that journalists should be allowed to move freely in their efforts to serve the public through gathering and dissemination of information.
“But what we are witnessing in the country today gives us serious concern. Less than two weeks ago, a reporter with The Punch, Okechukwu Nnodim, was abducted in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by some criminal elements, only to be released a few days ago. Also recently, the Business Manager of Silverbird, Segun Owolabi, escaped assassination attempt in Port Harcourt after close of work. And now, another journalist, Onyia, was kidnapped in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. This is unacceptable” the statement stated.
“While condemning this heinous act in strong terms, we urge the security agencies to secure the unconditional release of Onyia to enable her continue her professional services to the country”.
The Union however charged the security agencies to ensure the arrest of the kidnappers and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to other criminally minded people.
The Union further demanded that immediate steps be taken by the Rivers State Government and security agencies to arrest this ugly development so as to enable journalists fulfill their constitutional mandate unhindered.