Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigerian journalists have been asked to embark on a fast ing period starting Monday, a day after four of their colleagues were abducted by unknown gunmen in Nigeria' s South-east Abia state.
In a statement, the Lagos Council of the National Association of Women Journalis ts (NAWOJ) also urged members to converge at the Secretariat of the umbrella Nigerian Union of Journalists (NU J) in Ikeja, on the outskirts of the commercial city of Lagos, for a prayer session for the abducted journalists.
Those kidnapped included the chairman of the Lagos State Council of the NUJ, Wah ab Oba, Assistant Secretary of the Lagos State Council, Sylvester Okereke, the Z o nal Secretary of NUJ in South West, Adolphus Okonkwo and the driver of the vehicle, whose identity is not yet known.
They were seized from their official vehicle while they were returning from the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NUJ, which rounded off Saturday at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
Explaining how the journalists were seized, the National President of NUJ, Moham med Garuba, said their vehicle was fired at by the gunmen, whom they initially thought were armed robbers.
''After firing at their vehicles, they intercepted the chairman of Lagos state a nd his colleagues and carried them away.
But the Chairman of Abia, Delta and the Secretary abandoned their vehicles and ran into the bush.
Later they reported the matter to the Police, who later visited the scene,'' Garuba told state radio.
The NUJ President said he had spoken with Oba, as well as the kidnappers, who ar e demanding 250 million naira as ransom (US$1=150 Naira).
''He (Oba) was just pleading with me that they have been kidnapped and they need our assistance so that they can be released.
I made efforts to speak with our other colleagues; unfortunately the kidnappers did not allow me.
We have been communicating with the Police and other security agencies.
''The commissioner of Police in Abia State in particular has assured us that our colleagues are going to be released,'' Garuba said.
Ironically, the issue of security was top on the agenda of the two-day NEC meeti ng of the NUJ.
In March, three journalists working for South Africa's sports channel SuperSport s were kidnapped in Imo state, also in the South-east.
All were later released unharmed, and it was not known whether or not any ransom was paid to secure their release.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a common occurrence in Nigeria, especially in t he country's South-South and South-East geopolitical zones.