The sea pirates, who abducted six workers of Julius Berger Construction Company and a captain, near the Bonga Oil Field in between Delta and Rivers states, have released them after collecting a ransom of N158 million contributed by families of the affected workers.
SaharaReporters learnt that the seven abductees were released on Tuesday evening after the money was taken to the sea pirates.
The victims are now recuperating in different hospitals, according to a family source.
The family source confirmed the release to SaharaReporters, adding that security agencies such as the police and the navy were helpless in locating and rescuing the abducted workers.
He said, “They initially demanded $1.5 million (about N600 million), but when we could not raise that, they brought it down to N200 million. The company was still insisting that they would not pay and were banking on the security agencies. But the workers had spent two weeks in captivity, their health was failing and their families were in serious agony.
“Finally, as the pressure mounted, the abductors released them on Tuesday evening after we raised and paid N158 million to them.”
Another family member of the victims wrote on Facebook, “As of this morning, my brother, Captain Moses Pepper, is still tired but in good spirit. The sea pirates that kidnapped my brother, who is a senior captain with Julius Berger, have released him after collecting a ransom.
“He is at home now reunited with his family. I thank SaharaReporters for being the only media outfit that carried this news thereby giving Julius Berger the pressure to facilitate their release after two weeks in captivity.”
SaharaReporters had On March 24 exclusively reported that sea pirates attacked the Bonga Oil Field between Delta and Rivers states, and abducted six workers of the Julius Berger Construction Company who were on board a barge.
SaharaReporters had stated that the pirates also attacked the captain of the tow barge, and reached out to the company to demand $1.5 million as ransom for the workers.
The incident happened when the workers were moving from Warri to the Bonny Island en route to the Bonga Oil Field on the Atlantic Ocean.
A relative of one of the victims had told SaharaReporters that the company seemed to be trivialising the abduction of the Nigerian citizens and had yet to make a statement on the incident.
On March 25, SaharaReporters also did an update that the sea pirates had reduced their ransom from $1.5 million to N200 million.
It had been gathered that the company, however, was insisting that they were working on “other options” other than paying the ransom to the assailants.
One of the affected family members who spoke with SaharaReporters had expressed worries that the health of one of the victims was a concern to them as most of them had developed high blood pressure.