From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
A young man was on Tuesday night feared dead while several others sustained bullet wounds following a fracas between the Police in Naka, Gwer West local government area of Benue state on one hand, and angry youths and commercial motorcycle riders in the town.
Our reporter learnt from an eyewitness that the crisis started when a young man who recently bought a van in the town mounted a siren on it and consistently harassed Police personnel on stop and search duty in the town with it.
“The Police after several warnings to the young man( names withheld) decided to arrest him at a check point because he was not supposed to use a siren.
“Unfortunately, the young man resisted the arrest and also went as far as struggling to snatch a riffle from one of the Police officers on duty.
“It was in the mist of that confusion that a shot was fired from the gun which killed a commercial motorcycle operator who was not too far from the scene of the fight while the van owner sustained injuries.
“Angered by the death of their member, ‘Okada’ riders in Naka town went on rampage attacking any police personnel they came across in the town.
“They also went as far as sacking the Naka Police Station after which they released all those in detention in the station
“From there they started visiting the homes of Police personnel in the town and burning their personal houses and personal effects while the police shot sporadically in the air to scare them leading to the injury of many.”
“As I speak with you, houses are on fire in Naka town and property that is said to belong to any police man or woman is set ablaze by the angry mob. Even the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the area narrowly escaped death because the mob felt he was innocent.”
“Though the situation has been brought under control with the intervention of Governor Samuel Ortom, the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Titus Zam who hails from the area, there is palpable tension in the town as at this moment.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu said he was yet to get full details of the crisis.