From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State has recently witnessed an upsurge in crime waves as residents are crying out over the ugly development.
Several crime incidents have occurred in the last one week making residents to panic over the situation for instance, on Thursday 17th July, 2014, a veterinary doctor Alechenu Anyebe, son to late Justice Anyebe was gruesomely murdered by unknown persons.
According to unconfirmed reports, the late Anyebe was said to have been shot dead somewhere in town and his body found dumped in a gutter at an area called owner occupier, while his 306 Peugeot car which was snatched by the unidentified gunmen, was later found in Wurukum area of the state.
Alechenu only got married about three (3) years ago and his sudden demise has devastated his wife and family members who cried out to the Police to fish out perpetrators of this heinous act.
Friends and school mates of late Anyebe who graduated from the famous Mount Saint Gabriel Secondary School are still in shock over his death.
Mr. George Okoh bemoaned Anyebe’s death, describing him as a ‘perfect gentleman’, questioning, “What has this young man done to warrant being murdered”.
Another of his close school mate, and a lecturer with Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, FUAM, Frank Ikyuanyum lamented over the death, saying “we were very close. He was like a brother to me. His death is a big blow to me”.
While the police are still trying to unravel the mysterious death of the late Justice’s son, gunmen again took over the Makurdi metropolis terrorizing innocent residents.
On Friday 18th July, 2014, a group of armed robbers at about 10pm invaded Katsina-Ala Street, a high brow business area, shot several persons and carted away goods belonging to some traders.
It could be recalled that in June, the son of a popular businessman MacTony was also assassinated on the same Katsina-Ala street, in the night after the close of business.
On Sunday 20th July, 2014, the home of a journalist, Peter Duru was raided by some unknown persons. Duru and his family had gone to Church at about 10am when his house located off Abu King Shuluwa road was burgled.
“The robbers broke into my house from an uncompleted building behind my house. They broke the burglary proof and entered inside carting away several items including some amount of money, jewelries, clothes, IPads belonging to my kids, phones and electrical appliances”, Duru said, intimating that he has since reported the incident to ‘E’ Division of Benue State Police command.
Drinking joints are not left out as the robbers have also taken their trade there. On Tuesday 22nd July, 2014, some armed men invaded a drinking joint on Iyorkaa-Akor Street and shot sporadically injuring a lot of people.
An eye witness said the robbers, stormed the beer parlor in a commando manner brandishing AK47 gums. They requested to know the whereabouts of the owner of a certain jeep parked at the beer parlor and when they did not get any positive response, the robbers who numbered over 6 opened fire and injured 3 persons who are said to require surgery from the gun wound inflicted on them, making their lives to be in critical condition.
The victims who include, Chinedu (owner of the bar), Lance, Terver (surnames withheld) and a female received various degrees of injuries and were rushed to Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Makurdi by the police for treatment.
Many residents have blamed the rising crime wave in the State to increase in political activities especially as aspirants for various elective positions have kick started their campaigns. They have also expressed disappointment with the Police over the lukewarm attitude it is handling the present security challenge in the State.
Mr. Albert Ode, a resident on Iyorkaa-Ako Street said, “The police have gone to sleep and allowed the robbers and political thugs to take over the State. Now we cannot sleep with our two eyes closed. The police must wake up from its slumber and protect the lives and property of the residents.
Spokesperson of the Police Command in Makurdi, Daniel Ezeala who confirmed the development, said the command has intensified surveillance around the state.
“What the command needs now is cooperation from all stakeholders, including parents, journalists and church leaders to tackle this menace”, Ezeala maintained.
As a result of the worrying crime waves, it is now common place to see road blocks or checkpoints in Makurdi metropolis which has also caused traffic gridlocks especially at night.
Aside these menace, there is the issue of criminal hideouts which has also become worrisome to residents. In expressing their fears, they said now that 2015 is approaching the rise in unemployment situation may make youths to embrace all manners of criminality to the detriment of the society. They therefore called on government of Benue State to strategise towards engaging more youths in productive ventures so that they do not become willing tools in the hands of selfish politicians while they also expect the police and other law enforcement agencies to intensify raids of criminal hideouts in the State with a view to fishing out undesirable elements.