By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON, have , insisted that the recent abduction of four journalists in Abia State was masterminded by yet to be identified politicians, even as it appealed to the kidnappers to release the victims unconditionally.

The leadership of the two umbrella bodies of media practitioners in Nigeria who made this position known in Abuja while inaugurating a new governing council for the International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, maintained that the continued stay of the journalists in captivity was the height of security decay in the country.

The National President of the NUJ, Mr. Mohammed Garba, who was represented at the event by the secretary of the NUJ Zone H, Mr. Gambo Yusuf, implored Nigerians to continue to offer prayers for the release of the journalists, adding that the organization could not afford the N30m ransom currently demanded by the kidnappers.

In his own remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Press Council, Mr. Bayo Ayotebi, maintained that kidnappings in the country calls for concern even as the 2011 general elections draw nearer.

Meanwhile, an Igbo  group , Peace  Accord, has asked the police to exercise restraint in tackling the kidnappers to avoid the repeat of Odi massacre.

Coordinator of the group, Mr. Malachy Nwachukwu, in a statement, speaking against the backdrop of reports that the authorities may resort to stern measures to arrest the kidnappers, said  care must be taken  by law enforcement agents, so that  innocent citizens do  not become victims of police brutality.
Peace  Accord said: “Unlike what happened at Odi and other parts of the country in the past, it will be recalled that several members of MASSOB were attacked, with several people mowed down in September, 2005 at Okigwe, while  some suffered physical assault as others ran out of town due to harassment and molestation by security men.

“Some of our members, Daniel Tochukwu Ani, John Emeka Opara, Daniel Tochukwu Ani, Pius Ikenna Nzedu and Matthew Ugo Okere, were forced out of town because they were declared wanted by security operatives, in spite of the fact that they did not know  anything about the disturbances.”

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