By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA-The ten Nigerians kidnapped by Somali Pirates who hijacked their ship, MV Yenegoa Ocean off Somali waters, arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja aboard an Ethiopian airline to the warm embrace of the Minister of Defence, Dr. Shettima Mustapha with the minister expressing federal government’s joy that the ten of them were released without casualty.
He made the disclosure just as the captain of the ship, Graham Egregi described the 10 months ordeal in the hands of the pirates, as the worst trauma or experience any normal human being wold want to be subjected to.
According to the minister, “you the captain and our other nine brothers are heartily welcome back home after your ordeal which lasted between six and seven months. Last year, when the incident (Hijack) happened to you, we in Nigeria were all shocked. We went through trauma of our own in trying to get you free. we thank God that you were rescued without harm”.
“I felt that as minister of Defence, and inspite of the fact that efforts to get you out was jointly handled between us and the ministry of foreign affairs, I should personnally come here (airport) to welcome you home”
“Everybody has continued to pray for you because kidnapping is not a sweet thing or experience. I want to use this opportunity to once again assure all law abiding citizens that wether inside this country or outside, government would continue to put measures in place to see that nigerians are protected against such unpleasant experiences that cause physical and pshycological trauma for the people.
Explaining that the ship which is a cargo ship, was returning from Dubai to Nigeria before it was hijacked, Captain of the Ship, Egregi said “what we saw suddenly were people with very sophisticated weapons like General Purpose Machine guns, Bazookas, the type that is mounted on tripods and shot and other weapons like the ones used to fight wars. It was a very terrible experience that I don’t wish others to experience.
He however thanked the defence minister and the federal government for the concern and efforts made to get them freed during the time of their ordeal pointing out that since they were released on the 5th of June, 2009, they had been kept at the city Hall, Mecalla in Yemen. Their ship was hijacked on the 4th of August, 2008.
Other members of the crew released are Davies Akpoguna, Namo Musa, Kalikio Okuns, Emmanuel Bassey, Bassey Effiong, Emmanuel Timothy, Usman Agida, John Nkanu and Lucky Edoja.