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NUJ calls for immediate release of Kidnapped Punch Reporter

Opeyemi   Ogunrinde

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council, on Friday called for the immediate release of Okechukwu Nnodim, a correspondent with the Punch Newspapers.

Nnodim was allegedly kidnapped in his home in Abuja by four gunmen who gained access to his residence by scaling his fence after firing several gunshots in the air.

In a press statement released by the council Friday, jointly signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu, chairman and secretary, 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.”

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