By Uzo Ugwunze Ojoto
The national chairman, Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, Chief Joseph Ejiofor, has called on the federal government to constitute a joint task force to arrest the rising insecurity on federal highways.
Speaking to Newsmen in Onitsha, Anambra state recently, Ejiofor lamented the ordeal faced by transporters and commuters in the hands of heavily armed bandits on major highways. He said that criminals activities escalated during the festive period in form of kidnapping, armed robbery and herdsmen attack on Elele – Port Harcourt road, Abuja –Kaduna route and Benin by pass.
“Every week passengers and drivers are kidnapped up to two times at Benin by pass. One of their victims, Mr. Anthony (surname withheld) from US said they were attacked by armed herdsmen”.
“According to Anthony two of them were kidnapped at the by- pass and taken inside the bush where the assailants clutching A.K. 47 rifles mingled with herdsmen as they waited
Herdsmen for their ransom. The armed herdsmen boasted they have been operating for years now and nothing will happen to them”, he said.
Similarly, he said that on Elele- Port Harcourt road, full passenger buses were commandeered by criminals into the bush where they were stripped of their belongings, including bank ATM cards. “They put road block with
vehicle, kidnap their victims, hold them for days until they finish withdrawing/transferring all their money via ATM card”, said Ejiofor.
“Moreover, at Omotosho Benin road, Abuja-Kaduna or Abuja- Nasarawa roads, we experience armed robbery attacks almost every day. We need heavily armed patrol teams at all these places”, he said.
The transporters said that with the rate of insecurity on the roads, only heavily patrol team of Army, Police and Navy of different tribes can match the terror perpetrated in the highways.
He called on inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris to consider the plights of road users and seek assistance from the military for the protection of lives and property of Nigerians.