In a shocking turn of events, Matthew Abo, the Commissioner of Information, Culture, and Tourism for Benue State, was abducted from his residence in Zaki-Biam by a group of armed gunmen on Sunday evening. This followed the abduction of the first Chairman of Ukum Local Government, Hon.Washima Erukaa, less than 24 hours before in the same Zaki Biam.
Eyewitnesses reported that Matthew Abo’s assailants arrived on four motorcycles and forcefully took the commissioner away to an undisclosed location.
The daring abduction occurred at approximately 8 pm on September 24th, 2023, sending shockwaves through the community and raising concerns about the escalating security situation in Benue State.
According to witnesses at the scene, the kidnappers, armed and masked, barged into Abo’s residence and ordered everyone, including the commissioner’s wife and children, to lie face down. The gunmen then coerced Commissioner Abo to sit behind one of the motorcycle riders, while another assailant positioned himself nearby. A source who spoke to AkweyaTV but chose to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal said it was a harrowing scene as the criminals used intimidation and firearms to achieve their sinister objective.
Matthew Abo, who assumed office as a member of the Benue State Executive Council less than a month ago on 29 August, 2023, hails from the Ukum Local Government Area. This area has recently witnessed a surge in criminal activities, marked by frequent killings and kidnappings, raising concerns about the safety and security of residents.
The abduction of a government official of Abo’s and Erukaa’s stature have left the Benue community in shock and prompted immediate action from law enforcement agencies. The matter has been reported to the police, who are currently launching an investigation to secure the safe release of Commissioner Abo.
The incident has underscored the urgent need for enhanced security measures in Benue State, particularly in areas plagued by rising criminal activities. It would be recalled that the Ukum-Katsina-Ala-Logo axis, collectively known as Sankera was under the terrorist acts one Terwase Akwaza aka Gana, who was killed on the 8 September 2020 after years of hide-and-seek with government and its agencies.
Anxiety About Abo
As the investigation unfolds, the community anxiously awaits news of Mr Matthew Abo’s whereabouts and safety, while concerns about the overall security situation in the state continue to grow.
On 4 December 2022, Benue State found itself in a similar situation when the then-Commissioner for Housing and Development, Mr Ekpe Ogbu, was abducted. The day was also a Sunday. The Special Adviser on Security Matters to then-Governor Samuel Ortom, Colonel Paul Hemba (Rtd), announced Mr Ogbu’s release two days later without stating whether a ransom was paid.