Gunmen kidnapped four Nigerian journalists and a driver traveling through the country’s oil-rich, but volatile southern delta, the authorities said Monday, the latest troubling sign of insecurity in the West African nation. The reporters had just left a conference in Akwa Ibom State on Sunday when a speeding car filled with gunmen forced their bus to stop in neighboring Abia State and commandeered it, said Mohammed Garba, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. In a call later, Mr. Garba said, the gunmen demanded a ransom of $1.67 million. Attacks against journalists are not uncommon in Nigeria, but kidnappings of local journalists are rare because most earn very little.
The area where the conference was located is in the south, to the right of Port Harcourt.
After digging around a bit, searching for what exactly the conference was that these journalists were coming from because I had romanticized that these journalists were coveted for their expert and inside knowledge– but I find, that this motive is not the case.
Instead one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers quotes the state’s governor, Liyel Imoke,
It is becoming embarrassing and rather unfortunate that Nigerians are now using kidnapping as a business. This surely is not our way of life. Such acts are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
It is such that, kidnapping is not altogether uncommon. Following Vanguard’s online update of the kidnappings, (of which they report there were five journalists kidnapped, where the New York Times has reported there were only four), there is one very hostile response directed at Imoke. Read Vanguard Online.