Mark, Akunyili Chides Security Agencies Over Journalists' Kidnap

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, July 12, (THEWILL) - President of the Senate, Senator David Mark today chided the nation's security agencies over the spate of kidnapping in the country declaring that no responsible government would continue to tolerate such despicable incidences.

Mark who spoke in Abuja demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the four kidnapped journalists and their driver including Mr. Abdulwahab Obba, Chairman of the Lagos Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The Senate President also charged the security operatives in the country to rise up to the challenge and save the citizens of this ‘avoidable hostility in the bands of criminals’.

Four journalists it would be recalled were kidnapped in Abia State while returning from the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Sunday.

An obviously angry Mark in a statement, signed by his Chief Press secretary, Paul Mumeh declared that "No responsible government would allow these to continue. We must all rise to the occasion and curb the menace. Our security operatives must stand up and be counted as responsible and responsive agencies of Government."

However, he asked the Security agencies to comb all nooks and crannies of this country to locate the hideout of the kidnappers and bring them to book.

"Enough of this embarrassment. We cannot continue to allow this to happen. Criminality of any form is condemnable. It cannot be our way of life", he said.

However, Senator Mark called on communities especially traditional rulers, to join the fight against kidnapping, because "These people live in our midst. They live in our communities and all of us cannot continue to feign ignorance about the activities of criminals in our midst. Community leaders must take responsibility for this abnormality.

"As it is now, everybody is a potential victim. The earlier we tackle the matter head on and put it to an end, the better for all of us", he stated.

Nonetheless, the Senate President sympathized with the families of the victims and the NUJ in this trying moments and asked for calm hoping that the kidnapped journalists would regain their freedom unconditionally very soon.

Also commenting on the kidnap of the journalists, Nigeria’s Information Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili in a statement made available to THEWILL today said, "The Federal Government has received with sadness the unfortunate news of the kidnap of four Lagos based journalists by unknown gun men.

"Information available to government reveals that the four journalists and their driver were abducted at Umuafouka junction in Obingwa local government Area of Abia State while on their way from the National Executive Committee Meeting of the NUJ held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

"The four Journalists who were kidnapped include Chairman, Lagos State Council of the NUJ Mr. Wahab Obba, Mr. Adolphus Okonkwo, Zonal Secretary of the NUJ for Zone G. Others were Sylvester Okere, Secretary of the Lagos state Council of the Union, Mr. Sola Oyeyipo, a Lagos based Journalist and the driver of the bus conveying the team.

"The abduction of these four prominent and innocent journalists while on active duty is a challenge to security agencies to reinforce ongoing security operations in Abia State. Mr. President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan recently directed the police and all security agencies to rid the nation especially the South Eastern part of the Country of Kidnapping.

"Government finds this ugly development quite disturbing, sad and clearly unacceptable.

"The Federal Government wishes to reassure all Nigerians of adequate and radical response in the search for sustainable solution this new wave of crime.

"In this direction, I wish to reaffirm the confidence of the Federal Government on the ability of Nigeria police, and Security Agencies in the Country to free the Journalists from their captives within the shortest possible time.

"The Police and all Security Agencies have a responsibility to ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are brought to book.

"I therefore call on the Governments of Abia, Akwa Ibom and neighbouring states, community leaders and well meaning Nigerians to work closely and in partnership with the police and security agencies to fish out these gun men from their hideouts.

"Finally, government also appeals for calm while efforts are being made to free the journalists, our hearts go to the NUJ and the affected families.