From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
Hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers have, again, hijacked another bus belonging to Benue state transport company, Benue Links, and kidnapped its 15 passengers.
Those abducted included a Staff of Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) Mr. Thomas Tikyaa who was Chief Accountant, Makurdi office.
Our correspondent gathered that the Benue Links vehicle was travelling from Onitsha to Makurdi when they were accosted between Otukpa and Ugbokolo in Okpokwu Local Government Area, (LGA) of Benue state.
According to locals from the area who didn’t want to be named, the incident took place at about late hours of the day and four persons out of 15 were said to have escaped leaving 11 in the custody of the kidnappers.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Benue State Police Command, SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident. She, however, said investigation was on going.
Also speaking to our correspondent, a management staff of the transport company who didn’t want to be named said the report was true.
“That is very true. They kidnapped two vehicles; one National Union vehicle and one Benue Links. This happened before you reach Ugbokolo. They were trying to reach Ugbokolo when the incident happened, ” the source said
Meanwhile, the management of NTA has petitioned the Commissioner Police, Benue State Command, CP Batholomew Onyeka, concerning the incident.
In a letter marked NTA/,KD/ADMI/NPF/26/VOL. 11/492, 18 September, 2023, addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, Makurdi, the Zonal Director of NTA, Pam Dung Nyam, solicited the help of the security agency to secure the release and safe return of their staff and others.
The Zonal Director said, “I wish to formally report the kidnap of the above mention Staff of NTA who was recently redeployed from NTA Network Centre, Makurdi to NTA Onitsha, Anambra State.
“The ugly incident occurred around 10:00pm yesterday 17 September. 2023 between Ugbokolo and Otukpa on his way to Makurdi to visit his family while on board Benue Links Bus.
“In the light of the above, we will like to solicit your kind assistance for his rescue and safely return to his family.
“I shall be very grateful for your prompt intervention in this regards,” the letter read.
A relative of the NTA staff, also confirmed the incident to our reporters saying, “My brother was coming back from Onitsha yesterday and he was kidnapped.
“We spoke yesterday evening but I didn’t know he was on transit. This morning an unknown number called me and when I picked they say, “oya talk to your sister. But since I didn’t say anything, he too didn’t say anything. Later they called his wife and that was how we got to know. They are demanding for N60 million.”
Recall that gunmen, on September 10, 2023, hijacked two Benue Links buses travelling from Makurdi to Lagos, in Okene, Kogi state and kidnapped 10 passengers while others managed to escape.
The Commissioner for Energy, Power and Transport, Omale Omale, in a text message said out of the 10 persons abducted, eight have been released and reunited to their family.
Omale who promised to call back with details on the latest kidnap said, “We have the assurances of the security agency for the release of the last two. I will talk with them today and revert.”