Nigeria: Escalating Insecurity: Kidnappings Continue in Benue Following Ekiti Incident

Nigeria: Escalating Insecurity: Kidnappings Continue in Benue Following Ekiti Incident

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In the wake of the unresolved abduction of six Ekiti school pupils, teachers, and a driver, the specter of insecurity looms larger as additional children are reported kidnapped in Benue State. This distressing event unfolded in the Ugboju community of Agatu Local Government Area, where armed herdsmen attacked, leaving a tragic toll of at least 15 lives lost.

As authorities intensify efforts to secure the release of the Ekiti school victims, a separate incident unfolded in Benue, marking a concerning trend of escalating kidnappings. The police reported the arrest of eight individuals linked to the Ekiti abduction, while the affected school, parents, and community initiated a crowdfunding campaign to gather the N100 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the parents of students kidnapped from Al Qalam University in Katsina, 18 days prior, expressed frustration over the perceived failure of security forces and the Katsina State government in ensuring the release of their children. In response, the Federal Government assured the public of its commitment to addressing the broader challenges of Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism across the country, emphasizing the need for a unified approach to combat insecurity.

In a distressing turn of events, armed assailants in Kuduru community, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, demanded not only a hefty N290 million ransom but also unconventional items like cough syrup and rice for the release of seven hostages kidnapped on December 28.

The Agatu attack in Benue has left numerous individuals injured, with many still unaccounted for, including children reportedly abducted and taken to Nasarawa State. The assailants, who launched the attack from Nasarawa State, have been a source of ongoing violence in the region since the beginning of the year, leaving locals bewildered by their motives.

Godwin Edoh, the lawmaker representing Agatu Constituency, expressed deep concern, stating that armed herdsmen have turned Agatu into a killing field. He conveyed his frustration as a representative witnessing the suffering of his people, underscoring the urgent need for intervention.

As the community and families grapple with the grim reality, the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in Ekiti initiated a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the N100 million ransom demanded for the release of the kidnapped children and staff members. Despite concerns about the legality of contributing to such demands, the school’s vice principal clarified that they are preparing alternatives, supporting government efforts to secure the victims’ release.

However, the financial response from the community and families remains inadequate, with only N450,000 raised at the time of reporting, far below the kidnappers’ demand. This ongoing crisis highlights the urgent need for coordinated efforts to address the growing threat of kidnappings and insecurity in various parts of the country.

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