Kaduna — The gunmen, who on Tuesday attacked a foreign vessel off the coast of Brass and Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, kidnapping six sailors aboard yesterday demanded $1.3 million as ransom for the release of the sailors.
Apparently irked by the negative consequences of the action on the image of the country, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday warned that except urgent steps were taken to stem the tide of violent killings and kidnapping of foreigners in the north, the rest of the world may decide againstdoing business with Nigeria.
However, the sailors, whose nationalities were three Ukrainians, two Indians and a Russian were abducted on Tuesday aboard a vessel named Armada Tuah, allegedly owned by a Lagos-based company, Century Group.
Confirming the demand for the ransom, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Fidelis Odunna, said the police have mobilisedin an effort to apprehend the kidnappers.
According to him: "Three of those abducted are from Ukraine, two from India, one from Russia. And one of the kidnappers called to demand the sum of N200 million, which is about one million euros or about $1.3 million."
"We have deployed intelligence personnel in search of the six workers," Odunna said.
The kidnap is coming barely a week after the state government enacted a law prescribing death sentence for kidnapping in the state.
Meanwhile, the forumin a communiqué issued at the end of its National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Kaduna on Tuesday condemned the recent killing and kidnapping of seven foreigners nationals in Bauchi as well as the attack on the emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, noting that such heinous activities were alien to the north.
The three paragraph communiqué signed by the National Publicity secretary of the forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, said the ACF, "viewed with serious sense of concern and sadness the recent attacks on the convoy of the Emir of Kanoand the killings and kidnapping of some foreigners in some part of the North."
The group, therefore, called on "those who derive pleasure in killing other people to lay down their arms and embrace peaceful means of addressing perceived grievances, lest the whole world decides not to do business with Nigeria as a result of the emerging violent culture that had hitherto been alien to the North."
The meeting also considered the controversies surrounding the recruitment exercises and promotions in some security agencies as they affect northerners and called on governors of the 19 northern states to use their commissioners in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to investigate the allegations with a view to ensuring that the North was not short changed.