*Enemies Of My Govt Behind Kidnap—Okorocha
Suspected kidnappers on Wednesday night abducted the Imo State correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Miss Chidi Opara.
She was said to have been abducted while returning from the meeting of Imo State chapter of the National Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, in front of her residence at Uratta near Owerri, the State Capital around 8 pm.
Sources said the kidnappers had contacted the family and demanded a ransom of N8m.
While receiving the executive of the Corresponds Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State council, the state commissioner of police, Mr. Austin Evbakhavbokun who expressed worry over the return of kidnap activities in the state, said the police were putting all necessary machinery in place to rescue the journalist.
Reacting to the incident, Governor Rochas Okorocha said he could not understand why the female journalist should be waylaid at night and abducted when the general belief had been that those who kidnap do so for financial ransom.
In a release signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha stated that the kidnap of Miss Opara was very suspicious since she was not a politician or business woman, but a journalist that was not expected to have the kind of money that could attract kidnappers.
The governor suspected that those not happy with the feat his administration had achieved in the past four years by stopping kidnapping must have been behind the abduction of the female journalist, saying their reason was to use it to blackmail the government and perhaps puncture the Credit and Commendations the government had continued to receive from well-meaning Nigerians for stopping kidnapping in the State.
He said that those behind the abduction of the lady had decided to go for her not only because she is a journalist, but also because she is a female practitioner so that her abduction would have enough publicity.
“That is why the suspicion that the kidnapping of Miss Opara Chidi was aimed at blackmailing the State Government remains tenable, especially when the reason for the abduction could be questioned since the common aim of most kidnappings was receiving money as ransom”, the release reads in part, adding “the governor views the kidnapping as a blackmail against the government and takes exception to the ugly incident”.
The governor said his administration would work closely with the Police and other Security Agencies in the State to ensure that the journalist was recovered from her abductors alive and healthy.
He also called on those who kidnapped Miss Opara or those behind the ugly act, to immediately release the lady without further delay.
The state chairman of the NUJ, Sir. Innocent Igwe who also expressed worry that a journalist was be kidnapped, described the incident as unfortunate because according to him, it made no sense as the journalist is a public servant with limited resources.
The NUJ chairman who said the council was working with the police to ensure the journalist was released without delay.