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Government official kidnapped in southern Nigeria - police

Armed men stormed a hotel in the state capital, Port Harcourt, on Thursday night, abducting Anuoha Anugbom, a special adviser on agriculture to governor Nyesom Wike.

Nigerian flag. Picture: Supplied

WARRI - Gunmen dressed in military uniforms kidnapped a special adviser to the governor of oil-rich Rivers state in southern Nigeria, local police and witnesses said on Friday.

Armed men stormed a hotel in the state capital, Port Harcourt, on Thursday night, abducting Anuoha Anugbom, a special adviser on agriculture to governor Nyesom Wike.

"The gunmen waited for the victim outside the hotel and dragged him into their waiting car and sped off," Tonye Dokubo, a taxi driver who was at the scene, told AFP.

Kidnapping for ransom is rife in Nigeria's southern oil-producing region. Victims are often released after a few days once ransoms are paid.

The police did not confirm whether Anugbom's abduction was political.

Nigeria goes to the polls to elect a new president and parliament on 16 February State governor and local assembly elections follow two weeks later.

Rivers has long been a flashpoint for violence, as political parties seek control of the state, and by extension the lucrative oil and gas industry.

State police spokesman Nnamdi Omoni said there was "no cause for alarm as the already existing peace in the state will be sustained".

"The commissioner of police has given a marching order to all the Tactical Units to work around the clock and ensure that the victim is released in record time," he added.

Many kidnapping victims in the south have been expatriates and high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians.

As the economy in Africa's most populous country has suffered, kidnappings have become more frequent, spreading to other regions such as Nigeria's northwest.

It is yet another security concern putting pressure on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term.

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