NEMA quiet on N40m ransom as four abducted staff regain freedom

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Four abducted staff of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who were kidnapped last Tuesday in Obua-Adual Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, have regained freedom on Wednesday.

NEMA’s director of disaster risk reduction (DRR), Vincent Owan, made the disclosure on Wednesday.

He said the abducted colleagues were successfully released unhurt.

The emergency workers, were in the state to carry out an enumeration exercise when their car was ambushed by unknown gunmen.

Though one of the NEMA staff, Minafel Clever Ikisikpo, escaped after he was shot on the leg, the remaining four officials who were kidnapped and released are Julius Alunomoh, Damian Egwu, Olisa Ojukwu and Chidiebere Wendy, the only female staff.

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The kidnappers, last Thursday, demanded N40 million as a ransom for their victims.

When asked if the N40 million ransom was paid to secure the NEMA staff freedom, Owan said what matters now is that their colleagues have been released and have been reunited with them.

“The most important thing now is not whether the ransom was paid or not. We are very delighted to see them back.

“Though they are hale and hearty on the surface, there is a need for them to undergo psychological assessments and counselling due to the trauma of been forcefully taken into hostage. We want them to be stabilized as soon as possible,” he said.

“Most of our staff and families had been on vigil. It was a very harrowing experience for all of us, but the Almighty God did not abandon us. We, therefore, give him a resounding glory,” Owan said.

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Also, the national chairperson of Women Commission of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Hafsat Shuaibu commended the management of NEMA for the prompt response in ensuring the release of their staff.

Hafsat, who is also a staff of NEMA called on the Federal Government to approve the condition of service of the agency to cover risk and hazard allowances for the emergency workers.

“We must commend the management of NEMA for their diligence and prompt response to the plight of kidnapped staff. The incident cannot deter us from responding to disasters and emergency situations anywhere in the country because that is our professional calling.

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“We nevertheless find it necessary to call on the government to approve our condition of service to cater for the nature of our jobs as we operate mostly in most difficult terrains attending to victims of disasters and emergencies.”

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