In the first of its kind, a mother and her three-month-old baby were kidnapped from their home in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta region Tuesday, the local press reported.
The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 20 million naira, which they later (US$171,000) reduced to 5 million naira (US$43,000), the report said.
The husband of the kidnapped woman, Samuel Ejiogu, is a local councillorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Ejiogu said the kidnappers told him on phone they would harm his wife and child if he fails to pay the ransom.
”All I am begging them is to release my wife and the child, at least for the sake of the three-month-old baby who cannot adapt to rough environment and unprotected from mosquitoes,” the politician said.
Though women and children have been increasingly abducted in the oil region, the latest incident marked the first time a mother and her child would be kidnapped together.
The abduction came the same day the wife of an MP in nearby Bayelsa state was freed – a week after she was kidnapped by gunmen dressed in police uniform in Port Harcourt.
Security agents said they freed the woman after the stormed the abductors’ hideout.
Kidnapping for ransom has become regular in the Niger Delta, with the government blaming the development on criminal gangs rather than the militants campaigning for a better deal for people in the impoverished oil region.
Last year alone, over 350 people, including 11 children, were kidnapped in the region, with almost all of them freed unharmed, some after the payment of ransoms. Panapress.