By Juliana, Benue
Policemen in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, yesterday, reportedly truncated a peaceful protest aimed at restoring peace to the Idoma nation.
The protest was organised by the Ebo K’Idoma group, to preach the message of peace and to put an end to kidnappings and killings in the land.
.According to members of the communities that have witnessed increasing spate of crime in the state, they said it started two months ago; at first, the Vicar General of Otukpo Diocese , Rev. Fr. John Adeyi, was kidnapped, a ransom of 2 million Naira was collected by his abductors, and his decomposing body was later found on June 22, 2016 behind Ogbadibo Local Government Area Education Secretariat, Otukpa.
The crime in the state has triggered a cause for concern as another victim, Mrs Charity Abah, a trader in otukpo main market was also kidnapped, murdered and her body was later dumped at Enugu Round About Otukpo; about a month ago, clashes among cult groups in Otukpo left over 14 persons dead, and last weekend, hoodlums shot dead 3 vigilante group members in Okpoga.
These incidents among others, prompted the call for the peaceful protest, which according to the organisers will help bring peace to the land.
However, the protest couldn’t see the light of day as men of the Police Force reportedly prevented the protesters from carrying banners and placards.
The frontline member of EboK’Idoma, Comr. Andy Kaggwa Obeya, said “The planned protest has been stopped by the Police. The DPO cordoned off the convergence point and people are being harassed.
“Under the watchful eyes of this DPO and Police, the crime rates continue to increase in the town with no significant efforts to end it. Are the Police protecting lives and properties or doing the bid of the government? For how long will the people and their leadership be hushed while the crimes continue to escalate?
“The Area Commander of Otukpo Police Command, Mr Akinyele Fasuba, was officially notified of the planned protest and prayers but kicked against it even before reading the letter, he flung the letter at us. Thanks to the DSS and the NSCDC for their support. They acknowledged our letter and was supportive all through the process,” Obeya said.
The DPO could not be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Idoma land, His Royal Highness, Elias Agaba’idu Ikoyi Obekpa ,was warned not to receive the protesters.