By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”Â Â Rivers state police command has offered to pay two million naira for information that would lead to the release of the four expatriates abducted Tuesday morning at Owaza, Abia State.
This comes as the kidnappers, according to sources, have demanded three hundred million naira ransom for the release of the hostages.
Public Relations Officer of the command, Mrs Rita Inoma Abbey, said the police would treat the information on how to track those behind the abduction with utmost secrecy.Â She could, however, not confirm the alleged ransom being demanded by the kidnappers.
On its part, the state chapter of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has condemned the abduction of the expatriates.
A statement by the Chairman of the union, Mr Chika Unuegbu, called for serious partnership between security operatives in Rivers State and their counterparts in Abia to beef up security in the area where the incident occurred, as crime rate at the spot was increasing.
It said:Â â€œTUC strongly condemns the armed attack on the convoy that was transporting some workers of NetcoDietsmann to Afam VI power plant on 12 January 2010, as well as the abduction of four expatriate staff of the company. The TUC, Rivers State, is deeply worried about the increasing unrestrained attacks on the residents of Rivers State by criminal gangs.â€
Operating in Abia State. We therefore call on the Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo to immediately take decisive actions that will ensure that the Abia State Police Command rise up to the challenge.
We also ask the Rivers State Commissioner of police and other securities agencies in Rivers State to work closely with Abia State Commissioner of Police to secure the release of the expatriates as well as put an end to these wanton attacks.
PENGASSAN (an affiliate of TUC) has a branch in NetcoDietsmann and we are concerned about the safety of the abducted expatriates and the impact of these unrestrained attacks by criminal gangs operating in Abia State on the economic recovery and security in Rivers State.â€, Chika said.
It would be recalled that three Britons and a Columbian were Tuesday morning taking hostage at the spot while on their way to Afam. At press time no group had claimed responsibility for the abduction.