Protesters barricade Benin-Abuja road over kidnapping
Motorists and commuters on the busy Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Abuja Road was stranded for many hours yesterday, as hundreds of residents, who were protesting incessant kidnappings in the area, barricaded the strategic road, leading to a standstill.
Barricading the highway from 6:00 a.m. took place at Ehor in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State, which is now notorious for the kidnapping innocent travellers, who would be forced into the forest, with huge ransoms regularly paid by their relatives and associates.
Commuters and motorists from Benin had to go through the longer Agbor Road in Delta State, before linking the Auchi-Abuja Road.
The protesters, mostly youths, were angered by Monday’s killing by kidnappers of a Master’s degree holder of Ambrose Alli University (AAU) in Ekpoma, Miss Ella Williams, while on her way to her alma mater from Benin, the Edo State capital.
Williams met her untimely death while about picking her call-up letter, ahead of the one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, but the kidnappers opened fire on the vehicle that she was travelling in, killing her on the spot, while other injured passengers were still seized.
One of the protesting residents of Ehor, Francis Okhomina told reporters that no fewer than five people were shot by kidnappers in the area on Monday, with two of them later confirmed dead, while the three others were seriously injured and still receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
Okhomina added that in spite of the efforts of military personnel, policemen, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and members of vigilante groups, the kidnappers with sophisticated arms and ammunition were still operating freely.
Edo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bello Kontongs, a Superintendent of Police (SP), did not answer the many calls to his MTN line.