The alarming level of insecurity in Edo state on Tuesday saw the kidnapping of about 15 passengers onboard a bus belonging to a popular transport company in the state (name withheld).
Although details of the kidnapping are still sketchy, Igbere TV, however, gathered it occurred along the Benin—Ekpoma—Auchi Expressway which has, in recent time, become a ‘safe haven’ for armed bandits.
This is coming exactly a month after kidnappers hijacked a bus belonging to the same transport company on same road. The 18 passengers were later released after the alleged payment of N9m ransom.
The latest Tuesday victims were said to have been kidnapped from an Abuja-bound 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus. Other road users were said to have scampered for safety, abandoning their vehicles.
An eyewitness and passenger of the bus, who craved anonymity, narrated how she managed to escape. According to her, only the driver and three female passengers were spared.
Another eyewitness, who claimed to be a student of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, said the development forced other vehicles to stop abruptly and park by the roadside.
Commenting on the incident, a regular user of the road and transport company, who took to his social media page, said he was forced to cancel his planned trip.
“I was already at the park when one elderly woman cried to the park that their vehicle was kidnapped that they set her free to come give them the information… I had to return the ticket and collect my money back,” he said.
“Please for those that still have mind to travel to Benin or Ekpoma today be careful!.”
As at press time, the whereabouts of all the victims are unknown. Clips obtained by Igbere TV shows the empty bus on the roadside with other road users discussing the event.
When contacted, spokesman for the Edo state police command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the police was yet to be briefed on the incident.
“We have not been briefed (yet), the command is not aware of such development, once I am briefed, I will let you know,” the police spokesman said on phone, Tuesday afternoon.
Today’s incident comes three days after the State Head of Service, Mr. Anthony Okungbowa, got kidnapped in Edo town, with his driver and orderly killed. Okungbowa has since regained freedom.
Kidnapping has been on the increase in Edo, especially following the recent EndSARS protests in the state where thousands of prison inmates escaped; burning down police stations and looting armouries.