The Nigerian Guild Of Editors (NGE) press group has pleaded for the unconditional release of journalist Donu Kogbara who was kidnapped by unknown gunmen in August at her parents' house in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
Kidnappings for ransom occur often in the oil-rich Rivers state. Kogbara's abductors, however, have not yet contacted her family with any ransom request and the motive for her abduction is yet unknown.
Kogbara worked for the BBC, Channel 4, the Sunday Times and the Mail and has been reporting for the Vanguard newspaper for some 30 years. She lived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria's capital Abuja and London and was visiting her family in the Rivers State when she was abducted.
NGE's President Garba Deen Muhammad asked the kidnappers "to be humane and to release her unconditionally to continue with her crusade for a better country for all Nigerians", as reported by the Leadership.
"Those holding Donu should remember that they have mothers, sisters, wives and daughters whom they cherish and protect intensely," the statement continued. "Donu is also a mother, wife and sister to other people who care deeply about her. They must not hurt her and should please release her to return to her family immediately."
A spokesperson for the police in the Rivers State confirmed that they are investigating her disappearance. "We are doing everything we can to ensure she is released safely, but I cannot say anything beyond that for her own safety," the spokesperson told IBTimes UK and added that the number of kidnappings in the state has "calmed down drastically".
However, this view is not shared by the Rivers State section of the All Progressives Congress (APC) -- President Muhammadu Buhari's party -- which warned that crime is increasing in the region. The party said in a statement: "Today, the worst fears of the APC have come to stay in Rivers State, considering the skyrocketing level of killings, armed robberies and kidnappings sweeping through the length and breadth of the state, with negative impact on the economy and social life of the people and residents of the state.
"The APC will like to call on security agents in Rivers State and beyond to do all they can to ensure a quick and safe retrieval of the kidnapped journalist of international repute, whose only crime was to visit the family in Port Harcourt, the capital of her home state."
On 9 September Rivers State commissioner of police, Musa Kimo, said five suspected kidnappers had been killed by the authorities and three kidnap victims rescued. Speaking about Kogbara, he said: "Let me assure you and her family that we are doing all that is humanly possible to safely rescue and reunite her with you and her family members. Your support and patience in this regard is highly needed."