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Suspected herdsmen kidnap three Edo teachers

By Akin Alofetekun, Minna and Joseph Wantu, Makurdi   |   01 March 2017   |   3:59 am  

Police arrest 104, recover 672 stolen cattle in Niger
‘Arrival of over 50,000 cattle rearers in Agatu not a threat’

Three secondary school teachers in Ebomisi Secondary School, Ugbogiobo village, Ovia North East Local Council of Edo State have been kidnapped by suspected herdsmen.

The three male teachers were reportedly abducted on Monday while returning from school. Three other female teachers who were said to be in the company of the abducted teachers were allowed to go by the kidnappers.

Students of the school yesterday abandoned classes and took to the Benin-Akure expressway to protest their teachers’ abduction. The students set up bonfires and left passengers and motorists stranded on the road for many hours.


Some of the teachers, who spoke on anonymity, said the kidnappers have demanded N10 million as ransom on each of the teachers.When contacted, the Edo State Police spokesman, Moses Nkombe, said he travelled to Abuja for a conference. The state Police Commissioner, Haliru Gwandu, could not be reached for comments on the matter.

Meanwhile, police in Niger State have arrested 104 suspects for various offences including cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed robbery, homicide, rape, and unlawful possession of firearms.

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana, who disclosed this to journalists in Minna, said exhibits recovered during the arrests included three AK 47 rifles with 334 rounds of live ammunition, one SMG rifle with six live ammunition, 12 single barrel guns, four locally- made pistols, one revolver pistol and 672 cattle.

He said the arrests were made possible with the collaboration of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tactical Unit and operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), who have helped in sustaining the tempo in the fight against armed bandits in the state.

Elkana, however, adjudged the month of February as the most peaceful in recent times. The Sole Administrator of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, Mr. Mike Inalegwu, has explained the influx of over 50,000 herdsmen in the area.

Inalegwu said the herdsmen were in the area for grazing and not to attack the communities. He urged the residents not to panic.He told journalists that their arrival was part of the agreement reached by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his counterpart in Nasarawa, Tanko Al-Makura.

As part of the agreement, he said, “Fulani herdsmen would only be permitted to graze their cattle at the end of February, 2017 after the harvest season.”

He stressed that the decision was part of the measures to find a lasting solution to the perennial Agatu, Fulani crises.According to him, the Agatu communities are peace-loving people hence they allowed them to graze their cattle.

He, however, urged the herdsmen not to allow their cattle to stray to the farms of the host communities to avoid the destruction of their crops.
Inalegwu denied the involvement of Agatu youths in the alleged slaughtering of 52 cows at Adoka, in Otukpo Local Council of the state.

He said: “From the investigation we carried out, no Agatu youth was connected with the butchering in Adoka.”On the ultimatum given to Agatu elders to bring out the killer of a soldier in the area, he stressed that the community has not been able to apprehend him.

“It is unfortunate that a soldier who was on a peace- keeping mission was gruesomely murdered. We apologise to the chief of army staff and assure him that the council would do everything to arrest the culprit,” pledged.

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Herdsmen


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