By Godwin Edeh
There has been an increase in cases of murder within Makurdi, the Benue State capital in recent times. This ugly trend has left many residents in fear of the unknown.
There has been uneasy calm among residents of Makurdi metropolis following the rise in the murder of high profile personalities in the state capital.
Makurdi was hitherto one of the most peaceful state capitals in the North-Central zone of Nigeria with a bubbling night life without fear of attack or molestation. People take advantage of the peaceful disposition of Makurdi metropolis to enjoy themselves even in the deep night hours.
However, there has been a wave of fears among residents of Makurdi who now retire to their homes as early as 8:pm for fear of attack.
More worrisome is the way and manner the victims are manhandled by their assailants. The assailants carry out their operations with specific, concise and professional precision on their targets, well timed and executed in what James Hardley described as a clinical finishing, even though some arrest were made, Justice is yet to be seen.
A lecturer with the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Prof. Karl Kwaghgher, was brutally stabbed on the 28th November, 2020 at a relaxation spot located at J. S. Tarka Foundation by his assailants one of whom was later discovered to be his student, Nnamdi Jeremiah.
Nnamdi was said to have confessed stabbing Prof. Kwagher severally on his ribs and on his neck leaving a deep cut for his refusal to handover car keys. He finally succeeded in killing his master and took away the Jeep to Karu in Nasarawa State where luck ran out of him and was arrested while other conspirators are still at large.
As if that is not enough, a Makurdi based lawyer, Barr Moses Udam, a resident of Agboughul community was butchered
alongside his pregnant wife, Mrs. Nkechi Udam.In an effort to protect his wife from their assailants, Barr Udam received several machete cuts on his body.
Mrs Udam was serially raped by her assailants before they extinguished life out of her, leaving her in the pool of her blood in the barthroom where she earlier ran to hide for her dear life. Barr Udam before his brutal murder was said to be the chairman, Benue State Urban Development Board. The murder of Barr. Udam by his assailants (suspected herdsmen) bring to the fore the missing of his younger brother whom till date his whereabout is still unknown.
More worrisome is the murder of 80 years old blind man Baba Nyikyor Madugu a neighbour to Barr. Udam. Baba Madugu has to pay the supreme prince for daring to raise alarm when the assassins were operating at Udam’s residence. Baba Madugu was shot and stabbed severally to ensure no trace of evidence was left behind. His two children also narrowly escaped with gunshot injuries.
Like a moving colossus, the waves of murder within Makurdi metropolis continue to surge and remained unabated. While Families grieve over the death of their love ones, residents continue to live in fear of the unknown.
Not too long ago, a 300 level students of the department of human Anatomy, Benue State University, Agee Jessica Kpadoo , was in the like manner, murdered in her residence at Gydo Villa in what look like a rival cult attack. Kpadoo was with her boyfriend who visited her from Benin, Edo State who narrowly escaped when the assailants attacked them in their residence.
In Benue State in general, the security challenge we have is communal in nature and mostly it is over land or boundary matters. The new dimension of murder in the state particularly in Makurdi is worrisome as it is now beyond the communal clashes or cult-related killings.
The gruesome murder of Chief Mrs. Eunice Aghanuya came as a rude shock to many residents of Makurdi. Even though her husband, Ebezimako Aghanya, a former Commissioner of Police in Benue and Kogi States, respectively who retired as Deputy Inspector General, described the incident as a daylight robbery, is one murder, too many. This calls for new security strategies that will be proactive and always ready to challenge the wave of killings in the state particularly in Makurdi metropolis which is on a daily increase.
Chief Mrs. Eunice Aghanya, a prominent businesswoman and for the fact that, her husband reached the pinnacle of the police force calls for urgent review of the entire state’s security architecture. The long arms of her assailants trailed and caught up with her on the 12th March, 2021. The death of Chief Mrs Aghanya caught many people off-guard because she was known to be a strong woman who lived all her life in Makurdi.
On that fateful day, she was said to have drove home, parked her car as usual, went into her house only to be accosted by her assailants who took advantage of her lonely life-style to carry out their operation without any encumbrance or interference from neighbours. Mrs Eunice Aghanya was silently butchered with ease.
Chief Mrs Aghanya was matcheted on the head leaving a very deep cut on her head and was left in the pool of her blood without any form of assistance as she lives alone in the entire duplex. The arrival of her husband’s brother could not save the situation.
One fact that is that, of recent, all the victims were not shot but either stabbed or matcheted. Another thing noted is the fact that, they were also murdered in their homes and they were all high profile targets.
Seeking the views of the public, a resident of Makurdi , simply known as Madam Sewuese expressed surprise over the recent attacks and murders in Makurdi metropolis. She urged security agencies to braze up to the challenge. According to her, “It is the responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of her citizens. We are now living in fear of attack and patronage is very low.
To Mr Nnemeka Godswill, a resident of Makurdi described the increase in the number of killings in Makurdi as worrisome as most of the victims could have contributed to the development of the state. Nnemeka urged both the state government and the police to investigate the recent murders and do everything to safeguard the lives and properties of the Benue public before it escalates beyond control as according to him,” we are now living in fear of attack as anyone could be a target “
Prof Elvis Ihaji, Head of Department, Psychology, Benue State University, Makurdi described the situation as unfortunate. The politicians have sown seeds and the seeds have grown and generated above them. Arms are now in the wrong hands and they cannot retrieve them. The same boys are now on rampage, on a killing spree just like what we watch on TV in South Africa and other parts of the world
As for the types of arms used, Prof Ihaaji stated that, the aim of every criminal element is to achieve a purpose, it could be psychological, social, political or may have criminal intentions.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Benue State police command, DSP Catherine Anene, in her views stated that, the command has re-strategise and some suspects have been arrested in connection with the various murders across the metropolis and will soon be charged to court.
DSP Anene urged the law abiding citizens of the Benue to go about their lawful engagements without any fear of attack or molestation as the command is already on top of the situation.
Benue people have for a long time lived with the ugly incidents of their love ones been massacre by herdsmen, unknown gunmen and other criminal elements. As much as we commend the efforts of Governor Samuel Ortom in this regards, there is still room for improvement.
It would be recalled that, there has been heightened security concerns in the Sankera axis of Benue geopolitical zone since the death of Terwase Akwaza, Alias Gana.
The recent decision by the Northern Governors’ Forum to check mate the activities of bandits, kidnappers and other acts of criminalities in the geopolitical zone is a welcome development. While the steps taken are commendable, words must also be matched with actions and desired political will. The shoot- at-sight presidential order on bearers of prohibited firearms particularly AK 47 may be coming too late, it is still a step in the right direction if the monsters must be tame.