(UPDATE) Kidnapped OFW in Nigeria freed–DFA

(UPDATE) Kidnapped OFW in Nigeria freed–DFA
By Tarra Quismundo, Veronica Uy
Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
Last updated 10:52am (Mla time) 10/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Abducted Filipino worker Albert Bacani Sr. was released Wednesday by his Nigerian abductors, 13 days after he was kidnapped on September 27, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In a text message, DFA spokesman Claro Cristobal said Bacani and his Colombian co-worker were recovered by Nigerian authorities on a bridge in Port Harcourt around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Manila time (or 10 p.m., October 9 in Nigeria).

“They are in good condition and are now in the custody of their Saipem employers and undergoing full medical evaluation,” Cristobal said.

He said DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo directed Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria Masaranga Umpa to facilitate the repatriation of Bacani.

The secretary also ordered that the good news be conveyed to Bacani’s family.

Bacani is an electrician working for a construction yard of Saipem, an Italian petrochemical firm.

During the September 27 attack, one Colombian was slain. Nigerian authorities led the negotiations with the still unidentified abductors.

Originally posted at 10:38am


One Response to “(UPDATE) Kidnapped OFW in Nigeria freed–DFA”

  1. naija.pinoy Says:


    This is in reference to the continued ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Nigeria.

    Late last year, the Philippine government declared a total ban of workers going to Nigeria on the account of the successive kidnapping incidents in Nigeria’s oil areas which involve OFWs. The action may have been justifiable at that point. The ban affected not only New Hires but vacationing OFWs as well, even those OFWs who are working in Lagos and non-oil areas.

    Early in 2007, upon the strength of the petition of some expatriate companies in Nigeria, the OFW association in Nigeria and endorsement of the Philippine Embassy, the Total Ban was scaled-down to Partial Ban, allowing only the vacationing OFWs with valid work visa to return to Nigeria.

    After the resolution of the kidnapping issue, which involved not only Filipinos but other nationals as well, the Philippine government still maintained the ban on New Hire.

    Recently, returning OFWs to Nigeria found themselves barred by Immigration and POEA officials at the NAIA because they were told a total ban is in effect. An unnamed official at the Abuja Philippine Embassy said the embassy is not aware of any memo about a total ban. We heard that it was the DFA Secretary, no less, who asked for Total Ban on the day an abducted Filipino was released.

    By declaring a ban on Nigeria on issue of security of the country, the Philippine government is no less insulting the capabilities of the host country to maintain its internal peace and order. The present administration of His Excellency President Yaradua is doing huge effort to secure the oil areas and guaranty the safety of all expatriate workers.

    The OFWs themselves in the oil-areas have sent numerous letters to the Philippine embassy assuring the embassy that they feel safe with the present security efforts implemented in their workplace.

    One thing is certain in our minds, the kidnapping incidents in specific areas of Nigeria is not a mirror of the entire country’s state of security.

    We assure the government and our loved ones that Nigeria is a decent and relatively safe country to work and stay.

    In fact, it baffles us why only the Philippines impose a ban, where other countries only gave caution or warning to their citizens working alongside Filipinos.

    The recent news about DOLE and DFA calling for Filipinos in Nigeria to come home shows just how the DFA and POEA handles the OFWs situation – by knee-jerk reaction and ‘play-safe’ policy.

    We, the OFWs in Nigeria, believe that the imposition of a ban is not and never the solution to this issue of kidnapping, which for the record, also involved other nationalities. The continued ban is just hurting every Filipinos’ chances of getting a decent work and a chance to contribute to the Philippine economy.

    We oppose the new plan of the DFA to impose, yet again, a total ban to Nigeria, despite the recommendation of the Philippine Embassy here to lift the ban. We will avail ourselves of all means possible to get the attention of the government to have the ban to Nigeria lifted the soonest.

    We also strongly request that the DFA open and maintain a Consular Office in Lagos, considering that Lagos is the entry and jump-off point of incoming OFWs.

    For a reality check, we invite Vice-President Noli de Castro, DFA USec Conejos, DOLE Sec Brion and POEA Administrator Baldoz to come and visit Lagos and have a dialogue with the OFWs here so they will know the real situation and sentiments of the Nigeria OFWs — sentiments and information that may have not been made available through government official channel.

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