SOME groups of protesters on Monday blocked the Abuja –Kaduna Expressway over the rising spate of kidnapping and banditry in Niger State.
This followed the recent abduction of six persons from the Angwan-Wazobia in the Gauraka area of Tafa Local Government in Niger state.
The protesters, who gathered in numbers to stop vehicular movement along the Abuja-Kaduna Road, lamented that residents in the state were being indiscriminately abducted by armed men.
The protesters, who barricaded the highway by burning tyres, charged the government to find a solution to the insecurity crisis in the state and nearby communities.
Over the weekend, ‘unknown gunmen’ had reportedly invaded the community and abducted 15 persons, killing three others.
The State Police Command also confirmed that some gunmen had on Monday invaded the community and abducted six persons.
This was contained in a statement by the State Police Public Relations Officer Wasiu Abiodun concerning the kidnapping and outrage by the residents of the communities.
Abiodun, who described the protesters as ‘miscreants,’ acknowledged that they had trooped out to protest the kidnappings in the community.
However, he claimed the protesters eventually extended the agitation to the Gauraka police outpost, vandalised and set it ablaze.
The police spokesperson noted that reinforcement had been dispatched from Minna, the state capital, to the Area Commander Suleja as well as a joint task force from Minna – Suleja Highway to restore normalcy on Abuja – Kaduna Expressway.
Hours later, Abiodun informed The ICIR that normalcy had finally been restored to the highway through the efforts of the police and the military.
“The protesters were dispersed at about 12.45hrs, through the combined efforts of the police and the military. Peace and free flow of traffic restored along Abuja – Kaduna Express road,” said Abiodun.
The command urged members of the public to caution their wards against any act of public disturbance, saying the police would continue the onslaught against criminal elements in the society.
However, the police command has been unable to secure lives and property in Niger State, as kidnapping and banditry reign in many parts of the state.
Earlier in April, Governor of Niger State Abubakar Bello had said that Boko Haram terrorists had taken over and hoisted their flags in Kaure village, Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.