Amidst worsening security situation on the Okene -Lokoja-Abuja highway, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for immediate restoration of military checkpoints on the road.
The Chairman of the Kogi State council of NUJ, Adeiza Jimoh, made the appeal in a statement issued in Lokoja on Friday.
He said that the incessant kidnappings and killings almost on a daily basis on the road by armed bandits necessitated the call.
Mr Jimoh gave kudos to the police for their efforts at checkmating the criminals but said that the establishment of military checkpoints will further reduce criminal activities on the road.
According to the statement, the Osara-Irepeni section of the road has become notorious for the activities of the men of the underworld.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on the same road, an army captain, G. S. M. Abubakar, was, on July 5, shot dead by bandits, who also kidnapped his wife and mother.
NAN also reports that the two kidnap victims have yet to regain their freedom.
Also on July 9, a naval officer and a woman travelling together in a Toyota Sienna car were killed by bandits at the same section of the road.
“The criminals, no doubt, have taken the advantage of the withdrawal of the military from the road to unleash mayhem on innocent road users, with deaths on its trail,” NUJ noted.
The union also advised the police to scale up their operations by introducing 24-hour patrol of the road.
“The idea of creating roadblocks and preoccupying themselves with checking of vehicle particulars should be discouraged.
“The criminals take advantage of these lapses by striking in-between police roadblocks,” it said.
The union also urged the state government to rise up to the new wave of criminal activities across the state.
It said that the current upsurge in crime should not be allowed to rubbish the modest achievements recorded by the state government.
“The fight should be taken to the criminals in their various hideouts instead of waiting for them to strike before taking actions,” he said.
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