Gunmen kidnap Benue LG chairman, three others

UNKNOWN gunmen have abducted the Caretaker Chairman of  Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, Haanongon Gideon, and three others.

According to a report by Punch, the chairman, alongside his personal assistant,  Ior Yuhwam, his driver, and a police officer were kidnapped while on their way to the burial of the paramount ruler of Katsina-Ala LG, the Ter Katsina-Ala, Chief Fezaanga Wombo.

Confirming the incident in a press statement, the council secretary, Jonathan Modi, stated that they were abducted along Anyagba, Tongov, in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state around 6.30 am, on Saturday, January 13.

The statement read in parts, “The Ukum Local Government Area Executive Council announces the kidnap of the Council Chairman, Rev. Haanongon Gideon, alongside his PA on Administration, Mr Ior  Yuhwam, his driver and police officer.

“The ugly incident took place this morning, along Anyagba, Tongov, in Katsina-Ala LGA, of Benue State, around 6:30 am, while on the way to attend the burial of the paramount Ruler of Katsina Ala LG, the Ter Katsina-Ala, Chief Fezaanga Wombo.”

The council further urged the residents of the LG to remain calm and be law-abiding, assuring them that measures are being taken to ensure the victims’ freedom.

However,  the state police command hasn’t publicly confirmed the attack as at the time of filing this report.

When The ICIR reached out to Catherine Anene, the spokesperson for the command, for information on the incident, no response was received to our message, and her phone was unreachable.

Abductions and killings have been persistent issues in Benue state. The ICIR has reported on how insecurity continues to cripple activities in the state, displacing thousands of residents.



    On September 24, 2023, The ICIR reported how gunmen abducted the commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Matthew Abo.

    Abo, who later regained freedom after 10 days in captivity, was abducted when the gunmen invaded his residence around 8:00 p.m. at his country home in Zaki Biam, Ukum LGA and whisked him away.

    According to the spokesperson to the state governor, Tersoo Kula,  in a statement on Thursday, October 5, 2023, the state government claimed that no ransom was paid in securing the commissioner’s release.

    “Rather, his release was as a result of intense pressure on the criminals from the gallant security operatives who were acting on the directives of Governor Hyacinth Alia, who had earlier given marching orders to them to ensure Mr Abo’s release,” the statement reads.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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