The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has called for the immediate release of its member, Chidiebere Onyia, a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt zonal office.
Onyia, a nursing mother, was allegedly kidnapped by her abductors at a gunpoint on Tuesday night along the railway line, Woji in Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on her way home after work.
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.
“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 also 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.
Meanwhile, the NUJ 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.