The four abducted staff of the National Emergency Management Agency, who were kidnapped last Tuesday in Obua-Adual Local Government Area of Rivers State, have regained their freedom.
The NEMA senior emergency workers were on their way back to Abuja after carrying out an enumeration exercise in the State when their car was ambushed by unknown gunmen.
Though one of the NEMA staff, Kingsley Okafor, 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.
The kidnappers, last Thursday, demanded N40 million as a ransom for their victims.
When contacted, the Leader of the NEMA Team that worked tirelessly towards the release of kidnapped victim, Vincent Owan, told PRNigeria that the abducted colleagues were successfully released unhurt.
Owan, who is also the Director of Disaster Risk Reduction, thanked NEMA management and staff for their steadfastness in prayers for the release of their co-workers.
He said: “I must thank the Director-General NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, for working round the clock in facilitating the release of our colleagues.
“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.”
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 reunited with them.
He said: “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 counseling due to the trauma of been forcefully taken into hostage.
“We want them to be stabilised as soon as possible.”
Also speaking on the freed victims, the national Chairperson of Women Commission of the Trade Union Congress, Hafsat Shuaibu, commended the management of NEMA for the prompt response in ensuring the release of their staff.
Shuaibu, 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.
She said: “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.
“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.”