After spending five days in captivity, the kidnapped Correspondent of the Guardian Newspaper, Mr Julius Osahon, has been released.
Osahon, a former chairman of Federated Correspondents’ chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, was seized alongside others by unknown gunmen along the Ewhreni stretch of the East-West road last Sunday while travelling in a commercial passenger bus owned by a private transport firm to Delta State.
Mrs Jessica Osahon, spouse to the journalist, confirmed his freedom in a telephone chat on Saturday and said that her husband was on his way to reunite with the family in Benin City, the Edo capital.
She explained that her husband had spoken with her and just left the Police Division, Ughelli after being debriefed.
The gunmen suspected to be kidnappers had on Sunday abducted Osahon alongside other passengers in transit to Ughelli, Delta and demanded a ransom of N5 million from him.
It could not be immediately ascertained if any ransom was paid to secure Osahon’s release.
Osahon, and the other passengers were ambushed at Evwreni Community axis on the East-West Road, near Patani.
The kidnappers reportedly got angry at the media spotlight that followed Osahon’s abduction and jerked up the ransom from N5 million to N50 million.it is learnt that the commercial bus operated by Sunny Eru Motors has been recovered and kept at the company’s terminal in Yenagoa with bullet holes all over the body.
The Federated Correspondents’ Chapel (FCC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa Council, had condemned the abduction of the newsman and other Nigerians who were going about their legitimate businesses.
The FCC had in a statement signed Messrs Chris Eze and Bassey Willie, Chairman and Secretary respectively, called on security agencies to effect the unconditional release of the journalist and others abducted with him.
“The chapel wondered why gunmen would attack one who is only discharging his responsibility as a journalist.
“The chapel urges the security agents both in Bayelsa and Delta States to collaborate and ensure that Osahon and all those abducted in the ill-fated bus are rescued unhurt.
“The Federal and State Governments should ensure that there is adequate security on our highways, especially the Bayelsa and Delta axes of the East-West Road.
“The security situation in our nation is becoming worrisome on a daily basis, innocent citizens are being killed, kidnapped and their valuables carted away by criminals, that is why we call on government to discharge its responsibility of protecting citizens’ lives and property optimally.
“Journalists are not wealthy men in the society but just doing their duties to contribute to the growth and development of the nation, that is why we wonder where Mr Osahon will get N5 million demanded by the kidnappers to regain his freedom, ” FCC stated.