08 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The yet to be identified abductors of 14 oil workers, who are employees of Nestoil Plc, in Rivers State have demanded the sum of N100m as a ransom for the release of the victims.
Investigations revealed that the kidnappers had established contact with some members of the families of the victims held captive for the past four days.
They allegedly told the families to make the money available if they wanted their loved ones to regain freedom.
Gunmen had hijacked a Toyota Coaster bus conveying the oil workers, who are employees of Nestoil Plc.
The vehicle was travelling from Omoku to Port Harcourt on Friday when it was intercepted by the hoodlums. The incident happened at about 12.20pm along Omoku-Elele road, even as the kidnappers drove the vehicle to a different point before ordering the occupants into the bush.
A source close to the family of one of the victims said they (kidnappers) had established contact and were demanding for N100m as ransom.
When contacted, Nnamdi Omoni, Police Public Relations Officer, River State Police Command, said he was not aware of any demand by the kidnappers. He said the police had intensified their search with a view to rescuing the victims and apprehending the kidnappers.
“We are still searching; our men have been combing the bushes since the incident happened and I am sure that the victims will be rescued very soon,” he said.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has condemned the recent kidnapping of 14 oil workers returning from Egbema-Ohaji field to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by yet to be, identified kidnappers.
The Union expressed rude shock at the act on the 14 oil workers of Nestoil, calling on security agencies to spread their dragnet to rescue them unhurt.
A statement from NUPENG pointed out that the kidnap was one too many, as all hands must be on deck to protect the lives of oil workers, especially those working in installations.
“We are therefore worried about the attack, which has made oil workers an endangered species,” Comrade Igwe Achese, NUPENG President said, calling on the Federal Government to quickly ensure that oil workers returning from fields are giving adequate security.
The Union warned that the recent kidnapping of such numbers of workers will further scare foreign investors that would want to bring in the needed foreign capital and expertise to expand on projects in the oil and gas sector, urging security agencies to intensify efforts to comb the creeks and make sure the kidnapped oil workers are brought back alive to rejoin their families with no ransom paid and the culprits punished.
NUPENG also advised those involved in the dastardly acts to retrace their steps and find something meaningful to do, while it enjoined the Federal Government to tackle the economic downturn with vigour so that the current level of unemployment will be drastically reduced.
The Union reiterated that the Federal Government owes it a duty to the citizenry to make things work, reflate the economy, repair dilapidated infrastructure and assist small-scale business enterprises to thrive in order to get the restive youths engaged.