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Benue youths protest over kidnappings, charge police to nab culprits

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Protesters walk past the palace of the Akarigbo of Remo in Sagamu, Ogun State on Monday

Benue state Youths from the Ojali community in the Ohimini Local Government Area of the State stormed the Otukpo/Adoka/Oweto federal highway on Friday to protest the incidences of kidnapping in their communities.

Edache Ochojila, the son of a local chief, told reporters that the straw that broke the camel’s back was the kidnapping of 11 passengers earlier this week.

He said, “About six days ago, they kidnapped about 11 people along the Otukpo-Ojali-Oweto Road. We contacted the police, and they said they didn’t have bullets to come, and all efforts to arrest these boys proved abortive.

“But this morning, when we went to search the bush, we were able to apprehend one of the suspects. On our way back, the police intercepted us and seized the suspect from us, but allowed the others in the bush to run away.”

Ochojila further stated that motorists coming from the eastern part of the country to Abuja in opposite directions were stranded for hours due to the blockage of the road by the protesters.

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Confirming the protest, the state commissioner of police, Batholomew Onyeka, accused the protesting youths of damaging the police station in the Ojali community because his officers were opposed to jungle justice when they were scheduled to meet with the arrested suspect.

“They (the youths) brought the suspect, and the police are in custody of the suspect. They wanted to transport him to Makurdi, but the villagers and people there wanted to collect the suspect from the police to kill. Is it proper?

“If you go to the police station there now, you will see that they damaged the police building and the windscreen of the area command. Our people take laws into their own hands for no reason. Somebody was arrested; why didn’t you people kill him when he was arrested?

“Now that they are with the police, you want to take the suspect from the police and kill them. It’s not the right way of doing things, and that’s what prompted all these things, but the area now is very calm. Police have been able to restore peace,” Onyeka said.

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