The families of freed emergency officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) kidnapped while on official assignment in Rivers State paid ransom for their freedom.
Those abducted were Julius Alunomoh, Damian Egwu, Olisa Ojukwu and Chidiebere Wendy, the only female.
The other staff, Minafel Ikisikpo, a son of an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Bayelsa State, Senator Marcus Clever Ikisikpo, who was shot and seriously injured, managed to escape after he pretended to be dead.
PRNigeria reports that after the victims were tortured in Orashi Forest in Rivers where they were kept, their families mobilized and raised N1,500,000 each to secure their release.
A relation said: “Our sibling, together with that of the three other NEMA colleagues abducted, saw hell during the period they were in captivity. As family members, we had to sell some of our property for their freedom.
“They were brutally tortured by their merciless kidnappers. They were severely battered to the extent that some of them were bleeding through their ears.
“For the whole week they spent in captivity, they were not allowed to bath or freshen up. The kidnappers also emptied their various bank accounts through their ATM Cards and POS.
“You know the NEMA staff were not paid any allowance when they embarked on the official tour for the enumeration exercise in Rivers, until the day of the abduction.
“The moment they received alerts for their allowances, the kidnappers quickly withdrew the money from their accounts,” he said.
A security source involved in the investigation said that agencies of government are encouraged to report cases of abductions to appropriate authorities for necessary actions rather than paying ransoms.
He said: “NEMA didn’t pay any money to the abductors of the four staff who were eventually released. Even though the kidnappers asked for ransom, it wasn’t appropriate to grant their senseless and reckless financial request.
“And this is because, the government does not want to be seen supporting the evil business of hostage-taking or better still, kidnapping.
“It was the families and relations of the four abducted NEMA staff that sourced and paid the money demanded by the kidnappers as their ransom.”