The Police Command in Rivers on Wednesday confirmed the abduction of a reporter attached to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Port Harcourt, Mrs Chidiebere Onyia.
SP Nnamdi Omoni, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers, said the command had deployed personnel to locate and rescue Onyia from her abductors.
He said that the Commissioner of Police in the state, AIG Joseph Mukan, had ordered the command’s tactical units to ensure the victim’s safe release.
The gunmen had kidnapped Onyia, a female reporter with NTA, at about 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday around Woji area in Port Harcourt.
It was further gathered that Onyia, a mother of three, was whisked away to an unknown location by her abductors while returning home from her office at Choba area.
Onyia was reportedly with some of her colleagues in her car when the hoodlums intercepted her vehicle at Woji area, forced her out and drove her away in their vehicle.
Eye witness said the hoodlums fired several gunshots into the air, forcing motorists and bystanders to scamper for safety.
One of Onyia’s colleagues, who alighted from the car before the incident, wondered what the female journalist could have done to warrant her abduction.
The colleague said: “I was in the vehicle before the incident. Onyia drove me to my destination and continued to drop others.
“I was shocked to hear that gunmen double-crossed her and took her away whilst abandoning the vehicle and other occupants.
“She is a mother of three young children, and as such, we are begging her abductors to release her unconditionally,” she said in confidence.
Also speaking, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has criticised in strong terms the abduction of one of its members.
A statement jointly signed by the Rivers NUJ Chairman, Mr Stanley Job, and Secretary, Mr Ike Wigodo, described the abduction of Onyia as inhuman and heinous.
The council frowned at the incessant attacks on journalists in recent times, adding that the development was unacceptable.
The statement read: “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.
“But what we are witnessing in the country today gives us serious concern, as less than two weeks ago, a reporter with The Punch, Okechukwu Nnodim, was abducted in Abuja, 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 union stated.
The union further charged the Rivers State Government and security agencies to arrest the hoodlums to enable journalists to fulfil their constitutional mandate unhindered.