The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council, has demanded the immediate release of Victor Okechukwu Nnodim, a reporter with the Punch Newspapers.
Nnodim was allegedly abducted along with two children of his neighbour by four gunmen in his Abuja home who gained access to his residence by scaling his fence after firing several gunshots in the air.
In a statement released by the council Friday, jointly signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu, chairman and secretary, the Union condemns the heinous act in totality and calls for the unconditional release of Nnodim for him to be reunited with his family and colleagues.
According to the statement, “It is unacceptable that a journalist is abducted and held for whatever reason. A fundamental pre-requisite for a free media is that journalists be allowed to move freely in their efforts to gather and transmit information.
“While condemning this heinous act in strong terms, we urge the kidnappers to release the journalist immediately, and charge the security agencies to do all they can to ensure that Nnodim and all those held by kidnappers and bandits are rescued while the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“It is time journalists stop being endangered species for doing their constitutional duties. It is unfortunate that other forms of harassment against the press are becoming frequent.
“It is worrying that journalists have been assaulted while covering events and several others have reported receiving threats over their work.
“As a council, we demand that immediate steps be taken to arrest this ugly development so that journalists can fulfill their constitutional mandate unhindered.”
A family source, which confirmed the abduction, declared that the operation was carried out by a four-man gang.
“In a commando style, the men scaled the fence of Nnodim’s residence to gain access to him. They have, before this fired several gunshots in the air,” the source said.
Nnodim had just rounded up a prayer session with his family and about retiring for the day when the assailants broke into the house through the window.