Travellers Stranded As Drivers Barricade Edo Highway Over Serial Kidnapping

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Thousands of travellers were stranded on Thursday on the Benin-Auchi Road as drivers blocked the route with their vehicles to protest against the abduction of one of their colleagues on Wednesday.

The blockade, which was mounted along the road at Ugha community, left many commuters lamenting their fate.

One of the drivers said they blocked the road to draw attention to the continuous abductions of their colleagues by gunmen on the route.

He said, “One of our drivers was kidnapped on Wednesday and we reported to the police, but nothing is being done to search for him. Another one was kidnapped several months ago and we are afraid he may have died as he is yet to be found.

“We are not leaving here until the government does something about it. We brought with us seven bags of rice, pots and other ingredients to cook. That is how serious we are.”

A passenger, Collins Aghedo, who was travelling to Abuja, stated that passengers had been stranded for hours as the drivers were bent on drawing the attention of the authorities to their plight.

“It has been very tough since morning. Getting stuck in one place without knowing what will happen is a harrowing experience. We hope that the police will come to our rescue,” he added.
The Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Kontongs Bello, said the police visited the protest ground to pacify the drivers, adding that efforts were being made to rescue the victims.

In a statement on Thursday, the PPRO said, “On December 1, around 8.52pm, credible information from the Obagie vigilante chairman revealed that armed bandits, suspected to be kidnappers numbering about 20, intercepted a Galaxy bus with the number plate, JJT 989 FC, on the Benin-Auchi Road by Rubber Plantation/ Ugha slope with nine passengers, en route to Uromi, Edo State, from Ibadan, Oyo State.

“On receipt of the information, the Ehor DPO, CSP Ben Alpha, swung into action, mobilised police operatives in collaboration with military and local vigilantes for bush combing and rescue operation. In the process, six victims were rescued unhurt — four males, one female and a baby. Bush combing is still ongoing with the aim of rescuing the remaining four victims and further arrest of the suspected kidnappers.”

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