By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”Edo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)Â has condemned in strong terms the abduction, last weekend, of the General Manager of the Independent Television/Radio, Mr. Martins Ekpeh, as well as other cases of kidnapping in the state.
The union, in a statement in Benin yesterday, signed by its Secretary, Mr. Uchechukwu Olisah, observed that the security situation in the state whereby law abiding citizens or residents no longer go about their lawful duties freely or move freely within the ambit of the laws of the land, was very worrisome and counterproductive.
According the statement, â€œthe siege which the people of Edo State have been subjected to in recent times by these agents of counter-culture, is even more disturbing, given the presence of the members of Edo State governmentâ€™s elite anti-kidnapping/crime outfit named, â€œOperation Thunderstormâ€ in the state, particularly in Benin city, where most of the abductions have so far taken place.”
â€œThe alarming rate of kidnapping and upsurge in other criminal activities in the state calls to question the effectiveness and efficiency of â€œOperation Thunderstormâ€, which the state government is funding with the tax payersâ€™ money, that is, the money of the people they are supposed to protect.
â€œEdo state government may wish, and it has the support of the Edo NUJ, to reorganize the Operation Thunderstorm for more effective, efficient and result-oriented performance, or even disband it, if the anti-kidnapping/crime outfit is not living to the noble ideals behind its establishmentâ€.
The NUJ, however, appealed to those who kidnapped Mr. Ekpeh to release him to enable him reunite with his family as well as his employers.
It also called for the release of those still held in captivity by their abductors, and imploredÂ citizens and residents of the state to be more security conscious and alert and provide useful information to security agencies, with a view of assisting them to hunt down and bring to book the criminals.
The NUJ called on the police to be alive to its responsibility by doing their utmost to ensure the free movement of law abiding citizens as well as the safety of lives and property.