The Nigeria Navy has said it has rescued seven male victims who were abducted on May 10 by sea pirates off the coast of Bonny Island in Rivers.
The Tide’s source reports the seven passengers were transiting to Port Harcourt from Bonny when their commercial boat was intercepted and the victims abducted by pirates.
Commodore Suleiman Ibrahim, the Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt presented the rescued victims before newsmen on Tuesday at the naval headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He said the kidnappers, after intercepting the commercial boat, diverted it to an unknown location inside the thick swampy forest of the State.
“After the pirates kidnapped the passengers on May 10 along Bonny Channel, near Yellow Platform, we (NNS Pathfinder) immediately mobilised and started tracking to identify the abductors.
“Through intelligence gathering, we were able to identify one Mr Victor Padei, who intelligence revealed masterminded the abductions.
“Thereafter, we mobilised troops and stormed his camp (in Rivers). Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the camp, Padei had already relocated with his victims.
“Padei knows the terrain very well and he deploys his local informants who give him information on the movement of troops”, he said.
Ibrahim stated further that reconnaissance was conducted to determine the whereabouts of fleeing abductors which revealed the suspects relocated to another camp in Bayelsa.
“Again, we mobilised personnel in collaboration with our naval base in Bayelsa to raid the kidnapper’s camp but unfortunately they have already relocated with the victims before we got there.
“However, intelligence later discovered another camp in Bayelsa where kidnappers held the victims against their will.
“Upon storming the kidnappers’ den, we applied pressure (force) and issued them (kidnappers) to release the abductees unconditionally.
“Subsequently, on the midnight of May 21, the seven victims were returned unharmed to us and they are currently with us,” he added.
The navy officer said troops were currently on the trail of Padei and his gang of kidnappers and assured of their arrest and prosecution in no time.
He called on members of the public to go about their legitimate businesses as the navy in collaboration with other security outfits has further secured the waterways in Rivers.
Narrating his ordeal, one of the rescued victims, Jude Ichikpro, 57, expressed gratitude to the Nigeria Navy for rescuing him and his fellow passengers from kidnappers.
The victim told the source that after their boat was intercepted, their abductors blindfolded and took them to an unknown area.
“We transited several hours by sea and later arrived at their camp which I am still not sure about the location.
“After we arrived at the camp, they gave us our phones to contact and inform our family members of our abduction.
“Thereafter, they demanded N350 million (N50 million each) for the seven of us to secure our release; threatening to kill anyone of us whose family did not pay their ransom.
“I was horrified and worried that I would be killed knowing that my family cannot raise such huge funds to secure my release. So, I kept praying fervently.
“The entire experience was horrific as they kept threatening us. I was overly worried knowing that my family cannot raise such huge sums of money to secure my release.
Ichikpro, a Delta State indigene, said that they were held for 12 days and fed with uncooked food; drank dirty and salty water and sometimes slept inside the swampy waters.
He said on the day of their rescue, he heard loud noise which he initially thought was from the villages shadowing the kidnappers’ den.
“But the sound became louder, and only then did I realise that it was from security men because I can hear their voices but I was terrified and confused at the same time.
“Moments later, some men came to where we were kept and requested for our identity. It was only then I realised that they were naval personnel.
Ichikpro said that the navy operatives later took them away for de-briefing.
“I am so grateful to God and the Nigeria Navy for coming to my rescue without paying even a Kobo ransom to my kidnappers,” he said.
Rivers Gets New NCoS Controller
A new Controller of Rivers State Correctional Centre, Felix Lawrence, has assumed duty in Rivers Command following an administrative reshuffle within the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) nationwide.
This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Juliet Ofoni.
According to the statement, Lawrence took over from the Assistant Controller General of Corrections, Alex Oditah, on June 24 at a handover ceremony in Port Harcourt.
The statement added that Oditah had similarly been deployed as Desk Officer ACG Restorative Justice at National Headquarters, Abuja.
It also stated that Oditah, at the occasion, urged all staff to give the new Controller the maximum cooperation to achieve “necessary positive change and the mandate of the service’’.
Oditah also expressed appreciation to staff for their diligence to work, adding that he appreciated any action taken to move the State Command forward.
Also, Controller Felix Lawrence, at the occasion, thanked God and the Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nabab, for his posting to Rivers Command.
He urged all staff to give him maximum cooperation, adding that truancy would not be tolerated.
The statement added that Lawrence had served successfully in various capacities, including State Headquarters, Lagos Command, and State Headquarters, Asaba, Delta.
He also served at Medium Security Custodial Centre, Shendam, Plateau; Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje; Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kano; and Medium Security Custodial Centre, Ikoyi.
Woji Community Unveils Cars for Transport Company …Awards Chieftaincy Titles To Former Andoni LG Chairman, Others
Woji Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday, unveiled three vehicles to kick-start its transport company.
The community also conferred chieftaincy titles on a former chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Hon. Orom Nte Ereforokuma; Mr Ani Anthonio Onu and Engr. Andrew Aligbe.
Unveiling the vehicles yesterday during the thanksgiving service at St. Nicholas’ Anglican Church, Woji, to mark his seventh year anniversary as paramount ruler and Nyenwe-Eli Woji, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, said the community set up the transport company to generate funds for community development and provide employment for deserving persons.
He announced that the fleet of three Toyota Sienna vehicles would be integrated into the transport firm floated by the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria for easy management.
He highlighted several development projects executed in the community since his coronation seven years ago to include scholarships to indigent students, manpower development programmes for the youth, and support for indigent women of the community, among others.
Speaking while dedicating the cars, the Bishop of the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, commended Woji community for its sense of unity and for setting the pace in community development since Eze Emeka ascended the throne of Eze Woji.
He urged neighbouring communities top borrow a leaf from Woji to ensure peace and development in their areas.
He prayed for God to sustain the leadership of the community and grant them the wisdom to continually maintain peace and development of the community.
In his sermon, the Vicar of St. Nicholas Anglican Church, Woji, Rev. Canon Kingsley Ohajianya, called on the people to put their trust in God always to ensure their unity and progress.
The cleric, who spoke on the topic “Obtain Help from Sanctuary” during his sermon, said God does not fail those who put their trust in him as the only place one can get help is from God.
The man of God said nobody should go to the occult world to seek for help as any power outside God has expiry dates.
On Saturday, Eze Emeka Ihunwo had conferred chieftaincy titles on three non-indigenes of the community. He conferred the title of Eze Chituru of Woji on Orom Nte. Ani Anthonio Onu was conferred with Eze Obanya obi of Woji while Engr Aligbe bagged Eze Chigozilemma of Woji.
Eze Woji charged the awardees to be good ambassadors of Woji Kingdom, adding that the kingdom does not sell its chieftaincy titles but will give to deserving persons who have excelled in their contribution to the development of the community.
Ihunwo said it has been the custom of woji to recognise non- indigenes living with them, adding that even foreigners have in the past been recognised awarded titles.
He said the community has also extended its scholarship programmes and employment opportunities to non-indigenes in the community, and urged others to reciprocate same in their communities as no community can be built by only indigenes.
He urged the inducted chiefs to build synergy with the community with a view to fast tracking its development and charged them to take the titles as one of those good fortunes of life.
The awardees who spoke to newsmen thanked the Paramount Ruler and the Woji Council of Chiefs for the honour, promising to remain law-abidding as well as support the development of the community.
By: John Bibor
VC Charges Tertiary Institutions On Research
Acting Vice Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Prof. Okechuku Onuchuku, has called on tertiary institutions in Nigeria to move away from the principles of “publish or perish” and focus more on research results and outcomes that would attract industries for funding.
Onuchuku gave the advice recently when he received the Local Organising committee members of the Fifth Annual International Conference of the Society of Agriculture, Environmental Resource and Management (SAEREM) on a courtesy visit in his office.
Noting that the outcomes and results of such research would not only solve societal problems, but also help the university to generate funds from its commercialisation and capitalisation, the Acting VC said “industries and private individuals that invest in such research project would also reap from their investment with government regulating”.
He encouraged lecturers to make their research work visible for citing, emphasizing that such activities would increase the popularity of the scholar and the rankings of the University.Onuchuku commended the Committee for making IAUE their choice destination for the forth-coming conference with the theme, “Impacts of Climate Change and Oil Pollution on Environmental Resources, Food Production, Biodiversity and Economy Growth”, stressing that the conference would provide avenue for cross fertilization of ideas and showcase the institution.
He also stated that participants would gain from the interactions and presentations that would enhance their academic growth.
The Chief Executive hinted that the agricultural sector remains the largest employer of the labour force in the country and encouraged the Committee to come up with ideas, best practices and break-throughs that can improve food production, promote sustainable food solution, increase food security and eradicate hunger and poverty.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the Fifth Annual International Conference of SAEREM, Professor Godfrey Kalio, expressed appreciation to the Vice Chancellor for the support towards the hosting of the conference, saying that the conference would impact globally on the rankings and visibility index of the University.
In his vote of thanks, Dr. John Chukwumati of the University of PortHarcourt thanked the Vice Chancellor for the opportunity to visit.
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