By Amos Aar
THE busy but deplorable Makurdi-Naka Road in Benue State is becoming impassable as hoodlums have taken over the road for armed robbery in addition to occasional killings of passengers and motorists by suspected gunmen.
A 31-year old young man, Mr Gundu Avalumun, who completed his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) recently in March, 2023 and was hustling to survive as a commercial motorcyclist (popularly known as okada rider) while he continued searching for a white collar job, was lured last Thursday by hoodlums to Makurdi-Naka Road within the state capital where they carted away his Bajaj motorcycle with plate number MKD 604 WL and money very close to a police checkpoint.
Narrating his ordeal to National Record on Saturday, August 12, 2023, Mr Avalumun, who hails from Ushongo LGA of Benue State and resides in Makurdi, said two men stopped him at railway crossing near David Mark bypass, Makurdi and disguised as motor mechanics. He said they asked him to convey them to a point on Makurdi-Naka Road where they were to repair a broken-down vehicle.
ALSO READ: Retired Police Officer Threatens National Record’s Reporter Over Enquiries On Alleged Illegal Arrest, Detention, Torture Of Youths
According to Gundu, whose face was still swollen with wounds despite medical treatment he received about three days before the interview with National Record on Saturday, the robbery scene was very close to the checkpoint that someone who stood at the checkpoint could see what was happening.
Mr Avalumun, a father of one, said: “I was attacked by armed robbers towards Naka Road before Oracle Farm, after the police checkpoint on Thursday around 10am.
“I picked them after railway crossing and they said they were going to repair a car. When we reached there, they told me to hold the handbrake of the motor. One of them quickly lay down beneath the car while I was holding the handbrake for him to tighten it. I don’t know what happened next. I discovered myself inside bush and they covered me with grass, thinking I was dead but I was only unconscious.
“When I recovered from the coma at about 11am with my face heavily wounded, I started rolling on the ground towards the tarred road and I was sighted inside the bush by police from D Division, Makurdi who were on patrol.
“When we were passing, two policemen who were at the checkpoint were leaving. One of them kicked his machine and was facing Makurdi side. But I didn’t know such a thing was going to happen.
“The police were conveying me to their station but fuel finished from their vehicle on the way and my friend from Iorhom took me from there straight to Ngodoo Clinic, Makurdi for treatment”, Avalumun explained.
ALSO READ: Benue Community Accuses Police Of Harassment, Unlawful Arrest, Detention After Women Protest Against Brutality
He said the car which the criminals pretended to be repairing was Peugeot 504. The colour of its body was navy blue with ash-coloured bonnet and tinted glasses. He added that “it’s one of those vehicles given to police. But I didn’t see the car again when I came out from the bush”.
When contacted for confirmation of the incident, Benue State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police (SP) Sewuese Anene, was yet to receive report as the victim could not give a written statement to the nearest police station, D Division, owing to his critical condition but promised to visit the station on Monday, August 14, 2023.
However, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of D Division, SP Ojekunle Ishola, who corroborated Avalumun’s unofficial statement described the incident as “quite unfortunate, urging him to go to the station with his machine’s papers when his health condition improves to give official report.
“When he’s better, tell him to come to the office for official report with papers of the stolen motorcycle.
“Like I told you, it was not reported, it was just a distress call from one of our youths that we normally use in that area. He told us that something like this happened around that side and I sent my men on patrol because already, I have a point close to that Malina Market around that same David Mark bypass.
“A good Samaritan also assisted. It was a good Samaritan’s vehicle that was even used by our patrol”, SP Ishola told National Record in a phone conversation on Sunday.