Faith Awa Maji, Lafia
A former Treasurer of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nasarawa State Council, and member of Federated Chapel, Benjamin Ekom, was attacked and killed by unknown gunmen at his residence in Washo village of Akun Development Area of Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Council, in Nasarawa State Monday night.
Mr Ekom was also the former Secretary General of Eggon Cultural Development Association (ECDA) Worldwide.
His killings came barely weeks after the gruesome killing of two sibling who are niece and nephew of the former Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, in Gudi, the home town of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the State.
Confirming the incident in a telephone conversation with Daily Sun correspondent in Lafia, the Police Public Relations Officer, Nasarawa State Command, ASP Rahman Nansel, said the incident happened around 11:30 pm.
‘The incident really happened at around 11:30 pm. A distress call was received yesterday that two unknown armed men, suspected to be Fulani men, they were armed with cutlasses and sticks. They attacked one Benjamin Ekom, 70-years-old, as a result he obtain injuries and he was rushed to Ola hospital where he later died.’
According to the police spokesman, the shirt of the assailants and the cutlasses they used in their attack were recovered, noting that investigation is ongoing to find the men responsible .
In a swift reaction condemning the attack, the Nasarawa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said in a press statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Salihu Alkali and Sunday John, respectively, described the attack on innocent residents of the State by criminals as one too many, urging that drastic and proactive measures be taken to protect lives and property.
The NUJ leadership in the State urged security agencies to find the killers of the former union treasurer, with a call to members of the public to expose criminals in their midst.
The body commended the efforts by the Federal and State Governments towards tackling insecurity, but also called on them to do more to ensure that the people are safe to go about their legitimate activities unhurt.
According to the statement, journalists in the State condole with the family and friends of the deceased and pray for his eternal rest.
A cross section of people interviewed on the incessant killing of residents of the State say the report of the gruesome killing of Mr Benjamin Ekom at his home, and the frequent kidnappings within indigenous communities should force people to rethink, reorganise, embrace and brace up.
Some, who spoke under anonomty, lamented that their region, particularly Nasarawa indigenous communities, are being overrun systematically by Fulani militia as they claim that it is in fulfillment of an agelong agenda of Fulani expansionism – from Southern Kaduna to all settlements of indigenous peoples of the Sahel and Central Nigeria.
‘Whichever platform one belongs to in the State, one must begin some sincere meditation and heartfelt reflection, drop the ego trips and think brotherhood. We cannot afford to be slack and loose in wartime. Yes, we are in wartime with the credible security intels of the influx and migration of Fulani militia around Nasarawa State.
‘Let us not pretend that the political system here will be sympathetic to us. Let us not all also pretend that it is about religion viz Muslim against Christians, or the other way round.
‘In Nasarawa, it is purely an affront against indigenous peoples whether we are Muslims or Christians, but they have tried in the past to impress it on our Muslim brethren that it is about religion. If this notion was in doubt before, the last political season exposed everything when the system played our Muslim brothers out of the hope of being handed over power in 2019 despite their loyalty and painful sacrifices,’ a respondent said.