The Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, on Sunday, decried the abduction of two journalists, their wives and children by bandits in Kaduna on Saturday night.

Two Kaduna-based journalists – The Nation’s Abdulgafar Alabelewe and his Blueprint newspaper’s counterpart, AbdulRaheem Aodu – and their wives as well as children were on Saturday night abducted by the bandits.

The bandits invaded their Dahjonu community in the Millennium City area of Chikun Local Government Area of the state around 10:30 pm.

Alabelewe is the current Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kaduna State Council.

It was gathered that AbdulRaheem’s wife was abandoned by the bandits on health grounds.

“She came back on a motorcycle this morning saying they (bandits) abandoned her in the bush because of her ill-health.

“She managed to ask for direction from some people in a Fulani settlement where she was abandoned,” a source who craved anonymity, said.

One of the victims’ family members, Taofeeq Olayemi, confirmed the incident, saying the bandits invaded the area around 10:30 pm and shot indiscriminately before carrying out their act.

He said the bandits kidnapped Alabelewe, his wife and two of his children while Aodu and his wife who was also sick were kidnapped, leaving behind their sick daughter.

He said, “Initially, they picked Abdulgafar, his wife and three of his children and a girl staying with them before asking the girl to return with one of the children and left with Abdulgafar, his wife and two children.

“They shattered their doors and windows and removed their burglary after scaling the fence.”

Olayemi, who is a also a neighbour to the victims, added, “They came around 10:30  on Saturday night and started shooting sporadically. They first burst Aodu’s door open and picked him and his wife and left their sick daughter behind.

“Then, they entered Abdulgafar’s house through the fence and jumped into his house. They went straight into his bedroom and picked  him, his wife and two of their kids and left immediately, after which the vigilantes arrived and started shooting into the air.”

The President of the NGE, Eze Anaba, in a telephone interview on Sunday lamented, saying that journalists becoming targets of outlaws showed how things had degenerated in Nigeria.

He said, “Even during the World War journalists were spared. Journalists are protected like the Red Cross. Now, journalists have become targets of outlaws, bandits, and terrorists. It shows how things have degenerated in this country.”

Anaba said journalists were not politicians, “why are they now targets of terrorists and bandits? I don’t know these guys personally, but as journalists, they don’t deserve to be victims.”

“That is why, collectively, the media has been campaigning for an improvement of the political situation, the economic situation, and the social situation in our country,” he added.

He wondered what was left “of the very fabric of our society” if journalists were being exposed.

“I plead with the terrorists. I plead with these kidnappers that these journalists should be released. We do not have money to negotiate a ransom in terms of the billions of naira being paid for the kidnapping of politicians. I plead with the kidnappers to please release them to their families,” he said.

Reacting, the Kaduna State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, while condemning the incident, urged security agencies to expedite action to rescue the abducted journalists and their families unhurt.

The statement signed by the Council Chairman, Hajiya Asmau Yawo-Halilu, and the Secretary, Gambo Santos-Sanga, respectively, said the council received with shock the news of the journalists.

On its part, the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kaduna Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, equally condemned the incident, describing it as a “Black Saturday”.

A statement signed by its Vice Chairman, Maryam Suka, and the Secretary, Mohammed Sabiu, respectively, while condemning the abduction, said the incident would remain forever etched in “our minds.”

“While we continue to remain calm and pray for their safe return, we advise our members to be careful with their movements and utterances,” the statement stated.

The statement also disclosed that “this morning (Sunday), the wife of Aodu was released by the hoodlums. We have moved her to a safer place to avoid the crowd that has besieged their home since she regained her freedom.”

Also, the Kaduna State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria condemned the abductions.

SWAN called on the Federal and Kaduna State governments as well as security personnel to immediately swing into action to ensure their safe return.

The Kaduna State Police Command also confirmed the incident. The Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mansir Hassan, said the police were putting all efforts to rescue the victims unhurt.