Operatives of the 72 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Makurdi, acting on intelligence report, on Monday night apprehended 73 young men of various addresses, all from Nasarawa State at Agan Toll Gate, Makurdi, on their way to Imo State.
The young men, with 47 Bajaj motorcycles were in 5 trucks conveying some minerals from Plateau State to a Port Harcourt based company.
The Deputy Governor of Benue state, Engr. Benson Abounu, who was at the Agan Tall Gate on Tuesday, commended the Special Forces for their diligence and professional conduct; stating that despite the attempts to evade arrest, the soldiers were able to apprehend the trucks and arrest the men.
He was happy that contrary to the speculations in town about the confiscation of a truck loaded with arms and men to attack the town, no arms were found after a thorough search conducted by the soldiers.
Engr. Abounu however, expressed surprise that such a large number of young men from the same state could be found together going to a place, like Imo State know to be experiencing serious security challenges at the moment.
He charged the security men to carry out a detailed profiling of the passengers for further action as the answers coming from them do not add up.
Speaking on the issue, the Commander of 72 Special Forces Brigade, Lt. Col. A D. Alhassan said he and his men acted based on security report as they moved to intercept the trucks immediately they got the hint that they were heading towards Makurdi, the state capital.
According to him, his men spent a couple of hours waiting for the suspects before they finally arrived at the night of Monday; stating that
a thorough search has been conducted on them with all goods on the trucks off loaded and their motorcycles dismantled for proper search, but nothing incriminating like arms were found in the vehicles.
When questioned, one of the young men who gave his name as Emmanuel Ayugwa said they were going to Imo State to do Okada business.
“We are aware of the serious security challenges in Imo state, but we decided to make the journey because our brothers there told us that everything had calmed down”.
Mr Ayugwa, who said they only chose to travel with their bike using the truck to lessen their expenses, could not however explain how all of them from different places in Nasarawa State were able to find themselves in the trucks, which started their journeys from Plateau State.
Findings through a phone call with the manager of the company that owns the minerals shows that the trucks were loaded with lead, zinc and barytes from Plateau State and heading to a company in Port- harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
The manager said he was not aware of the arrangements by the driver to carry any other person apart from the motor boy and a company escort, and that, the management warned drivers not to carry anyone else in the trucks.