Ejiofor said the call became imperative following the incessant attacks members and commuters plying the highways faced almost on a daily basis.
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON) and commuters have raised the alarm over the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery attacks on the highways in the country. The group lamented that drivers and passengers have been target as hoodlums suspected to be herdsmen block the highway to rob and kidnap victims at will without any challenge by the security agents.
The national chairman of ALBON, Chief Joseph Ejiofor, while briefing newsmen yesterday, said they always attack their drivers and passengers along the Benin bypass, Lagos-Abeokuta road, Omotosho-Ijebu-Ode axis, Abuja-Keffi, Abuja-Kaudna, Abuja-Nassarawa, Makurdi and Elele-Port Harcourt highways, among others.
He said that the security challenges facing the group were enormous and urged security agents to intensify patrol and surveillance on the nation’s highways to curtail the activities of criminals.
Ejiofor said the call became imperative following the incessant attacks members and commuters plying the highways faced almost on a daily basis. He said the frequent attacks were affecting the economic and social activities of members and Nigerians in general, urging that drastic measures be taken to overcome the security challenges.
According to him, the criminals operate unmolested with weapons, including sophisticated guns and machetes.
He said: “They block the roads, divert vehicles and passengers into the thick forest unchallenged and unleash terror on their victims. Sometimes, the victims are held for up to a week.
“Some of them at the Benin bypass even confessed to a victim, one Anthony, recently that they are Fulani herdsmen, who had lived in the bush for many years.
“They also claimed that security operatives know that they occupy the forests and so nobody will come to their rescue unless they part with ransom or they lose their lives. The disturbing aspect of a recent Benin by-pass attack is that a victim, who returned from the United States of America, vowed never to return to Nigeria unless the security condition improved.”
Ejiofor described the recent killing of the former Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, as “a sad development and condemnable in all ramifications.” He noted that Badeh’s killing was one of such dastardly acts of the highway hoodlums.
“A joint patrol of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Police, DSS and armed Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel should mount surveillance and carry out regular patrol to tackle this ugly trend, especially during the yuletide.
“We have absolute confidence in the Nigeria Police to neutralise the activities of these fearless hoodlums, who have continued to terrorise our highways,” Ejiofor stated.