The Nigerian Army on Wednesday tightened security on some major highways in Ekiti State, to curb the rising spate of killings, kidnappings and other crimes.
Soldiers began ‘operation-stop-and-search’ at some flash points and routes that have become the den of killers, robbers and kidnappers.
The operations were visible with the presence of soldiers on the Ado-Ekiti-Itawure Road, Aramoko–Igede-Road, Ikere-Ekiti-Ise Road and Ado-Ekiti-Akure Road.
They stopped motorists moving into the state and conducted routine check of the occupants, while motorcyclists were made to dismount and push their motorcycles for as long as 35 metres before being allowed to take off.
It was learnt that this development could be a reaction to the series of security challenges confronting the state.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo last week during a condolence visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti over the gruesome killing of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, by suspected bandits, canvassed for the deployment of soldiers in the highways to prevent killing of travellers by bandits, robbers and kidnappers.
Many people have fallen victims of kidnap and robbery on these routes, as evidence shows that many people have been kidnapped, robbed and killed by men of the underworld.
The Secretary-General of Christ’s School Alumni Association, Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Rufus Oladele, was kidnapped on the Aramoko-Efon Road and taken to unknown destination by gunmen.
He spent four days in the kidnappers’ den before he regained freedom.
On the same day and at the same spot, a set of twins identified as Kehinde and Taiwo Olowoafara were abducted by gunmen.
The abductors reportedly contacted the family, demanding N6million ransom for each of their victims.
Also recently, Felix Akinde, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), was kidnapped by gunmen at Ita Ogbolu on the Akure-Ado Ekiti Road.
Akinde, who spent eight days in captivity, was later released after an undisclosed amount was paid to his abductors.
Early this year, an Accounting Officer at Emure Local Government, Mr. Abayomi Ajayi, was killed by gunmen on the Ikere-Ise Road while returning from work. He was in the company of two colleagues – Dr. Fashina and Pastor Onaade, who were kidnapped.
Speaking with newsmen on the deployment of soldiers, a community leader, Mr. Abdul Lateef Omoboriowo, said the presence of the military was necessary following escalating killings and kidnappings on the highways.
Omoboriowo, who expressed confidence in soldiers, said there was no doubt that they would reduce the high rate of insecurity.