The Benue State government Tuesday said efforts are ongoing to rescue the 10 kidnapped passengers from two Benue Links buses hijacked by gunmen along Okene-Ajaokuta road in Kogi State while on their way to Lagos.
Daily Trust reported that the incident happened on Sunday around 3pm and that some passengers escaped while 10 others were taken away by the kidnappers.
The state’s Commissioner for Power, Energy and Transport, Omale Omale, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Makurdi, noted that the state government had contacted the Benue State Police Command to liaise with its counterparts in Kogi for greater synergy.
He however said that the two drivers and 18 other passengers arrived in Lagos safely.
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Omale said, “We confirmed that two of our Benue Links buses with passengers were intercepted just before Okene in Kogi State, on their way to Lagos on Sunday, 10th September, 2023.
“Incidentally, as we speak now, no life has been lost and with the help of the vigilante and the police we were able to secure the two buses, two drivers and 18 passengers.
“On Monday, 11th September 2023, the police certified that the people were psychologically fit to travel and released them with the drivers to proceed to Lagos and we can confirm that they have arrived safely in Lagos.
“However, 10 of the passengers are still in the kidnapper’s den. The kidnappers took four of them from one bus and six from another.
“The acting General Manager of Benue Links gave us the report and the government is on top of the situation.
“We have reached out to the police command here (in Benue) to liaise with the Kogi State command to intensify security concerns to ensure their release.”
He added that the kidnappers had made contact with the families of the victims and were demanding ransom.
Omale however assured that the victims would be recovered from the kidnappers and reunited with their family members unhurt.
“We are giving our customers the assurance of the best of protection of security as they travel with Benue Links, but the security challenge is endemic, it cuts across the nation.
“However, the state government is guaranteeing that we will liaise with other states, where we are en route to destination for the protection of our passengers. Their welfare, their security is our concern and we are committed,” the commissioner said.