KIDNAPPING: TODAY SEVEN YEARS AGO – 4 JOURNALISTS WERE RESCUED

[On the 11th of July, 2010, Nigerians were awaken to the news of four journalists and their driver that were kidnapped somewhere in Abia State. The journalists were then, high profile Nigerian citizens to be kidnapped. There was tension in the country. The Police high Command led by the then Inspector General of Police, IGP Ogbonna Onovo (Rtd.), relocated to Abia State to rescue the victims. Seven years ago, the Nigeria Police was at the fight alone as the then President, GoodLuck Jonathan, did not see any wisdom in asking other sister agencies to support the fight as it is done today.

Seven years on, kidnapping have dominated the criminal arena in Nigeria, spreading like a harmathan fire to every corner of this country. As we reflect on this criminal epidermic, we must not loose track of Six students of Igbonla Model college in Epe, Lagos State, that were kidnapped on the 25th of May 2017. There are numerous others that are in various kidnapper’s dens across the nation.

The Nigeria Police are up to the task but need government’s support for more hands to finally wrestle down the monster known as “kidnapping”. The recent arrest of the most prominent kidnapper of all times, Chukwudi Onuamadike aka Evans is a testament to the capabilities of the Nigeria Police. However, adequate manpower and equipments to the Police will contain the epidermic.

Below is a copy of IGP Ogbonna Onovo’s address to the press on the rescue of the journalists on 18th July 2010.

TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, OGBONNA ONOVO ON THE RESCUE OF THE KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS AT UMUAHIA, ABIA STATE ON SUNDAY, 18TH JULY 2010.

Gentlemen of the Press, Exactly one week ago, a group of four (4) journalists and their driver who were returning from an official trip to Akwa Ibom State were abducted by some criminal elements, just a few kilometers into Abia State. Since then, the mood of the nation has been greatly disturbed.

As expected of my mandate as the Inspector General of Police, I immediately ordered a swift operation to affect the release of the innocent journalists. The Nigeria Police deployed a contingent of PMF and ATS personnel, as well as a full complement of intelligence operatives.

My officers and men mounted an extensive and massive manhunt for the criminals through both land and air search and rescue operations. In doing so, our primary strategy was to ensure that the victims were rescued unharmed. I also proceeded to the South East region to direct and supervise the rescue efforts, and to mobilise sufficient community support and involvement in our battle against kidnapping and other violent crimes.

Gentlemen of the press, I am happy to announce that in the early hours of today, Sunday, 18th July 2010, the four Nigerian journalists namely: Wahab Oba, Shola Oyeyipo, Yekini Azizi, Okonkwo Adulphus and their driver, Sylvester Okereke, were rescued unharmed at Umezigbe Ohanze in Obingwa LGA of Abia State. Our sustained efforts have yielded good dividends. I want to commend my officers and men for their gallantry and the sacrifices they have made to achieve this feat. I also want to thank the Governor of Abia State and other governors in the South East for their support and the numerous persons and groups including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, who have rendered valuable assistance to the Police.

While the rescued citizens are being re-united with their families, friends and employers, Police operations in the South East will continue even on a larger scale to flush out and dislodge kidnappers from their hideouts. The Police will take stern measures against kidnappers and their collaborators no matter how highly placed. The full weight will descend on all persons who disturb the peace and make life unbearable for Nigerians. Let me warn all kidnappers to surrender their weapons and embrace legitimate means of livelihood else, they will have themselves to blame.

The Nigeria Police will confront them on all fronts and will spare no efforts to rid the nation of the menace of kidnapping and other violent crimes. We solicit the understanding and support of all peace – loving citizens. Thanks and God Bless you. </span>

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SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)

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