Nigerian politician kidnapped

2010-08-30 14:49

Lagos - Gunmen have kidnapped a politician in southern Nigeria months ahead of elections, police said on Monday, after a prominent supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan was also abducted.

Abel Oshevire, a member of the Delta State parliament and a former editor with influential newspaper The Guardian, was abducted on Sunday, said police spokesperson Ahwara Ejiroro.

He was taken immediately after he left church in Benin City, capital of neighbouring Edo State, Ahwara Ejiroro, the spokesperson said.

"He was abducted yesterday by three armed men after a church service in Benin City and his whereabouts are still unknown," Ejiroro said.

The kidnappers have contacted Oshevire's family but no ransom demand had been made, he said.

Gunmen had on Friday kidnapped a prominent supporter of the president who is also believed to be the son of an ex-prime minister.

Police rescued Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, a physician and businessman, the following day after a gun battle with his abductors, authorities said.

The victim heads "Goodluck Na Kowa" (meaning 'Goodluck for all' in Hausa), a prominent support group for Jonathan, who has not yet declared his candidacy for elections set for January but is expected to do so.

Police said he is the son of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria's first and only prime minister. He held the position from 1957 until January 1966, when he was assassinated in the country's first military coup.

The family has, however, disowned a Jhalil Tafawa Balewa in recent years, according to a statement from 2008, and his link to the family could not be confirmed.

Observers and rights activists have warned of an upsurge in violence as the presidential, legislative and state elections approach.