By Nwakpa O Nwakpa
Soldiers of 72 Special Force Brigade, Nigeria Army, Makurdi, Monday night intercepted 73 young men said to be from Nasarawa State while on their way to Imo State.
The able-bodied young men were loaded in five trucks.
They were however, intercepted at Agan Toll Gate, Makurdi, by the Soldiers, working on a security tip.
The young men were loaded on the trucks with 47 Bajaj motorcycles.
The trucks were said to be conveying undisclosed solid minerals from a mine in Plateau State to a Port Harcourt-based company, but had to drop off the youth, loaded in the trucks, clearly marked “Goods Only” and covered with tapuline to conceal them as goods.
Benue State Deputy Governor, Chief Benson Abounu, who visited the barracks on Tuesday, commended the Special Forces for their diligence and professional conduct.
He expressed joy that despite attempts to evade arrest, the soldiers were able to apprehend the trucks and arrest the men, whose mission is clearly sinister.
Abounu said that the arrest was contrary to speculations in town about the confiscation of a truck loaded with arms and men who were trying to attack the town, saying, “no arms were found after a thorough search conducted by the soldiers.”
He expressed surprise at how such a large number of young men from the same state could be found together going to a place like Imo State, which is known to be experiencing serious security challenges at the moment, and moreso, in articulated vehicles, meant only to convey goods and not human beings.
The deputy governor charged the security men to carry out detailed profiling of the passengers for further action as the answers coming from them do not add up.
The Commander of 72 Special Forces Brigade, Lt. Col. AD Alhassan, said that his men acted based on security report.
He said that as soon as they got the report that some trucks were heading to Makurdi, they moved to intercept the trucks immediately.
Lt. Col. Alhassan said they spent a couple of hours waiting for them before they finally arrived at night.
He said that the soldiers had conducted a thorough search on them with all goods on the trucks offloaded and their motorcycles dismantled for proper search, but said no arms were found with them.
One of the young men, who said his name is Ayugwa, said they were all going to Imo State to do okada business, adding that they were aware of the serious security challenges there but decided to go because their brothers there told them that everything had calmed down.
Recall that some persons who called themselves Northern Youths had given the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, ultimatum to fish out the killers of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, or fave their wrath.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, several other youths from the northern parts of the country had seized the moment to sneak into the southern parts of the country, beating the ban on movement of persons, using same articulated vehicles as their sole means of movement.
Some of those were at a time apprehended by the FCT Covid-19 Task Force headed by Journalist Ikharo Attah, but no sooner were they turned back to Kano where they claimed they were coming than they made a detour and continued with their movement after the Task Force left Zuba.
It is believed that these people, most of who are suspected not to be Nigerians, are responsible for the several attacks ascribed to unknown gunmen.