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Gunmen kidnap rights activist in Rivers, demand N5m ransom

Chukwudi Akasike

A group of gunmen on Tuesday abducted a Port Harcourt-based human rights activist, David Vareba.

Vareba, who is the Head of a non-governmental organisation, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, was whisked away from his residence by the hoodlums at Road 3, Igwuruta Pipeline area in Igwuruta community.

gun

It was gathered that the gunmen were nine in number when they invaded Vareba’s home.
A close friend of the victim told our correspondent that the incident happened around 1 am when Vareba and his family were still in bed.

It was learnt that the gunmen had established contact with the family and friends of the victim and demanded N5 million ransom.

“Mr. David Vareba, in his early 40s, father of three, and head of the Human Rights and Governance Programme of the Port Harcourt-based non-governmental organisation, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development(CEHRD) was seized by over nine gun-brandishing, kidnappers from his house at Road 3, Igwuruta Pipeline area, Igwuruta community, Port Harcourt, in the early hours (about 1 00 am) of Tuesday morning, 12 March.

“The kidnappers are in possession of his private cellphone (0803 6201 232) – receiving calls on it and making their ransom demands,” the source said.
Another source said the kidnappers were demanding N30 million as ransom as of Tuesday evening.
The source described Vareba as a humble man, whose family might not be able to gather N400,000, let alone N5 million, appealing to his captors to release their victim.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said he had not been briefed on the matter.

Omoni stated that he would call the Divisional Police Officer in Igwuruta to get details of the incident.

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