ABIA: Kidnappers Plan To Disrupt 2011 Elections

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com

LAGOS, July 20, (THEWILL) - Lagos State Council Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Wahab Oba, smarting from his release after one week in the hands of kidnappers, today disclosed that the aggrieved youths who abducted him alongside four others had resolved not to allow the 2011 General Elections to take place in Abia state.

He said the kidnapers had threatened to disrupt the 2011 General Elections in Abia State if the state government fails to address the payment of salaries of the state public servants, apart from the lukewarm attitude of the federal government to amnesty programme and high unemployment rate.

Speaking to THEWILL correspondent at his Arepo residence in Ogun State, the chairman said he thought his world had ended when he stumbled into some lifeless human bodies in the forest where he was held hostage with his colleagues.

Oba, who was abducted alongside the council’s Secretary, Mr. Sylva Okereke, Zone G Secretary, Mr. Adolphus Okonkwo, Mr. Sola Oyeyipo, their driver, Yekinni Aziz, also said he saw corpses already decomposing in the forest where their captors were holding them hostage for about eight days, acknowledging however that he lost hope of returning alive because of gory experience.

Explaining further, Oba said the kidnappers blindfolded them each time they were moved from one location to another, stating that each time they were moved, corpses litter everywhere forcing them to lose hope of possible survival from the ordeal.

"We even thought the same thing could happen to us. We were so frightened. We also saw that the place was desolate. You can walk for 30 minutes without sign of any movement except the police. If they kill one hundred persons in that bush per day, no person will know. What we saw in the bush terrified and horrified us. I actually saw corpses", he said.

On 2011 elections, Oba mentioned the resolve of the kidnappers to disrupt the next year’s general elections and that they would not allow the elections to take place in Abia State unless the governments adequately address their concerns and fears contained in a sheet of paper the kidnappers handed over to them shortly before their release.

He said: "The paper "contains different issues, which they said pushed them into kidnapping. The kidnappers accused the Abia State Government of not paying salaries. They also cited the lukewarm attitude of the federal government to amnesty programme.

"They accused the governments of marginalizing their communities. They complained about unemployment and high poverty level in the country. They promise to continue kidnapping until their concerns and fears are addressed," the chairman added.

He was full of praises for the Nigeria Police despite their challenges and obvious constraints, but however called on the federal government "to do more for the Nigeria Police, especially as we approach the 2011 General Elections", he said calling on the federal government to work towards ensuring credible elections next year."