Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Monday abducted the Imo State Correspondent of Channels Television, Mr. Tope Kuteyi.
Up till the time of filling this report, the whereabouts of the reporter, who was seized from his home on the Umuguma Specialist Hospital Road at 3 a.m, were unknown.
The gateman at Kuteyi’s home, identified simply as Thomas, said eight bandits scaled the fence after cutting the electrified anti-burglary cables.
Thomas said: “I was in the security room with my brother when someone opened the window and pointed a gun at us.
“The intruder ordered us to open the gate, but I refused. While I was arguing with him, I didn’t know that other members of the gang had climbed into the compound.
“They ordered us to lie down and they broke into my oga’s (Kuteyi’s) house. Then they brought him out. After that, they entered the next bungalow and smashed the window glasses.
“The man there escaped through the back fence. But they took his car and drove away with my oga.”
Also, the abductors, who reportedly spoke with a friend of the victim, have demanded N15 million ransom to free him.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said the government was aware of the incident.
The statement said: “The young man (Kuteyi) is only a reporter who could not be said to be kidnapped because of money. To us, those behind the kidnapping know why they decided to inconvenience the victim and his family.
“They must have done that to blackmail the state government, having been commended for fighting and reducing kidnapping and other heinous crimes in the state to the barest minimum.
“Those holding him should please release him to reunite with his family. A journalist cannot afford to pay any ransom. To us, he (Kuteyi) must have been a victim of mistaken identity.”
The Zone C (Southeast) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Monday expressed shock over the abduction of Channels
Televisioncorrespondent in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Mr. Tope Kuteyi.
The reporter was allegedly kidnapped at 3am from his home in Owerri.
A statement by the zone’s Vice President, Christopher Isiguzo, and Secretary, Kenneth Ofoma, described the abduction as condemnable.
They urged the kidnappers to release the reporter immediately.
The statement reads: “We condemn the kidnap of this innocent citizen and journalist. Kuteyi is neither a politician nor a moneybag, nor a businessman.
“It, therefore, baffles the union as to why he should be the target of this dastardly act. We, therefore, appeal to the abductors of Mr. Kuteyi to release him unconditionally without delay.
“We similarly call on law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to secure the release of Kuteyi soonest, should his abductors hedge.
“We regret that journalists, who are always at the forefront in the battle for social change, accountability, transparency in governance and social justice, should be made the victims of the vices they stand against.
“Please, we plead with the abductors of our colleague to release him without further day!”