…travellers stranded as protesting youths block Benin-Auchi-Okenne Road
Herdsmen have shot dead a Master of Science (MSc) graduate of Architecture, Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, on the Benin-Ekpoma Expressway, Edo State. Williams was going from Benin, her base, to Ekpoma on Monday to pick up her call-up letter in preparation for the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, when the herdsmen opened fire on the bus she was travelling in. Williams died on the spot while other passengers were abducted. However, angry youths yesterday barricaded the Benin-Auchi-Okenne Highway over activities of kidnappers and herdsmen which resulted in the killing of Williams.
The barricade forced commuters to be stranded at Ehor in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State. Many travellers were forced to go through Agbor Road in Delta State from Benin. A resident of the village, Francis Okhomina, said five people were shot in the area on Monday by suspected kidnappers and that two of them died while three were injured. He said: “Everywhere is blocked; there is no way to pass here since 6am. “These Fulani men have been kidnapping people and taking them into the bush. “Our people have become scared. Two days ago, they shot five people there; two died and three survived.
The survivors are in the hospital. So, our people became angry and took over the road. The road users have to go through Ugoneki to Auchi. “The police have tried, the vigilantes have been trying but it is like these people have better arms so they (the security agents) cannot do as much as we expect. So, the youth are angry; that is why they have taken over the road.” The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bello Kontongs, confirmed the killing. Kontongs said that a full scale investigation had commenced into the killing and abduction. Meanwhile, a Facebook user, Asomba Andrew Egbuonu, had on Monday announced Williams’ murder.
He wrote: “I received the devastating news of the demise of a young lady and a promising future of the Nigerian nation, Miss Ella Williams, in the hands of blood-thirsty and heartless herdsmen on the Benin-Ekpoma Road in Edo State. “Miss Williams, who had just graduated with a Masters in Architecture from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, was said to have travelled from her Benin base to pick up her call-up (letter). She never made it back as her vehicle was attacked by murderous marauders who ambushed vehicles by opening fire on them with their small arms (aka AK47 assault guns) killing her on the spot. What a country where human lives have no value, especially to these emotionless invaders. “All over Nigeria, criminals and kidnappers plan and find ways of stopping vehicles before kidnapping their victims.
This appears to be too much work for these roaming marauders who prefer to use their bullets indiscriminately to stop vehicles on highways, killing the drivers and any other unfortunate passengers, before kidnapping the leftover survivors and herding them into our vast ungoverned bushes and forests.” Egbuonu said the herders’ modus operandi had been used repeatedly with almost no consequence for the criminals. He added: “The Nigerian Government under the watch of our President cannot continue to claim helplessness and reign as Nigeria’s best are wasted all over Nigeria”. “Miss Williams is gone, lost to a nation in need of her brightest and best. Her parents are heartbroken; her friends and colleagues in deep shock; her killers are out there still demanding and waiting to collect ransom from the surviving passengers from last week’s murderous and senseless kidnapping; and the Nigerian State moves on as it is business as usual to our rulers.” The Benin-Ekpoma-Auch-Okene Road has become a haven for suspected herdsmen and kidnappers, who daily operate by firing shots at vehicles to stop the drivers and passengers and kidnap them for ransom. In the process, quite a number of passengers have been killed while many others have been injured.