The Benin-city by-pass in Edo State is gaining notoriety for kidnapping and banditry as a journalist, Ben Duno, who was travelling on that route with other commuters at the weekend escaped being attacked by the Fulani herdsmen at the weekend.
Duno, who works with the Sun Newspaper, said they escaped abduction by the whiskers while traveling from Warri, Delta State to Ibadan, Oyo State, for a close friend’s wedding.
Narrating his experience, Duno said he has never been terrified in his life, but he and other co-travellers nearly walked into the hands of the marauders terrorising the country.
He said: “The frightening reports on the security challenges across the country, especially on some major highways traversing the country, where travellers are being kidnapped on a daily basis, made me avoid travelling out of my Warri enclaves in the last three years.
“This fear was compounded with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic since early last year till date, especially with the fact that this second waves appears to be deadlier.”
However, the Warri correspondent of the Sun Newspaper stated that when he got an invite from a friend that his cousin was getting married in Ibadan over the weekend he decided to change his mind about his earlier decision.
According to him, “We left the park at about 7:38 a.m. in Warri, Delta State and began the journey to Ibadan.
“The journey was smooth until we got to the Benin by-pass by 9:00a.m., when we saw so many vehicles (both commercial and private) parked off the road, and when our bus driver asked other drivers what was happening, they said herdsmen were operating on the road and that the policemen on patrol on the highway run away.
“To my surprise and anger, the police patrol team that we saw, warned commuters to go back and take road in the town if we must continue our journey.
“When some of us, including drivers, passengers and few ladies, decided to walk to a point to see if we can catch a glimpse of what was happening, a car approached to inform us that the criminals were moving towards our direction and the earlier we start moving away the better. That was when all the passengers and drivers started running for safety.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to everyone not to travel this period except its absolutely necessary, as nowhere is safe in this country at the moment. It has never been this terrible in our national life.”
Omokhaye noted that in a process of tracking projects implementation and costing, they discovered that in 2017, a borehole on an existing well was allegedly constructed with N20 million as a constituency project in one of the states in the country by a National Assembly member.
Furthermore, he revealed that another constituency project of three classroom blocks without furniture was purportedly executed at N20 million, while a contractor in Edo State used hollow blocks for the construction of a drainage system.
He said: “Budget is not an abstract item. It is a statement of a projection that defines the public sector’s investment in the people as well as their communities, but most times, the people in community are not aware of a particular project taken to their communities.
“In 2017 for instance, a borehole was constructed for N20 million on an existing well in a state in Nigeria. The same year, a three blocks of classroom was constructed at over 20 million without furniture.”