In a shocking incident that has sent shockwaves through Benue State, the Commissioner for Information, Culture, and Tourism, Mr. Matthew Abo, was abducted by a group of unknown gunmen in his private residence in Zaki Biam, Ukum Local Government Area of the state.
The news of the abduction was first disclosed by Mr. Tahav Agerzua, a former Special Adviser on Media and ICT to the immediate past governor of the state. According to Mr. Agerzua, the armed assailants stormed the commissioner’s residence at approximately 8 p.m., catching the newly inaugurated commissioner and those present in the house off guard.
The assailants, reportedly armed and riding on four motorcycles, forcibly entered the commissioner’s residence. They ordered everyone, including Mr. Abo’s wife, children, and other occupants, to lie face down.
Witnesses at the scene stated that the gunmen then abducted Mr. Abo at gunpoint, compelling him to sit behind the rider of one of the motorcycles, while another gunman sandwiched him.
“There are confirmed reports that several gunmen stormed the residence of Matthew Abo, Benue State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Zaki-Biam, and abducted him about two hours ago, Agerzua said.
“Eyewitnesses state that the kidnappers came on four motorcycles, ordered everyone in the house, including the commissioner’s wife and children, to lie face down, and took him away to an unknown destination on one of the motorcycles.
“The witnesses said the abductors compelled the commissioner at gunpoint to sit behind the rider of one of the motorcycles, while a gunman sandwiched him. The abduction took place after 8p.m. on Sunday, 24th September, 2023. The matter has been reported to the police.”
The incident unfolded in the midst of growing security concerns in Benue State, particularly in the Sankera axis, comprising Ukum, Logo, and Katsina-Ala local governments. This region has experienced a surge in attacks, killings, and kidnappings by unknown gunmen, whose activities have taken root despite the presence of security personnel.
Matthew Abo, who was sworn in as a member of the Benue State Executive Council on August 29, 2023, hails from Ukum Council, further underscoring the gravity of the security situation in the region.
The abduction of a sitting commissioner has raised alarm bells and prompted authorities to take swift action. The incident highlights the urgent need for enhanced security measures in the state to curb the escalating violence and lawlessness in the affected areas.