Army Arrest, Parades Mercenaries Allegedly Armed by Benue State Gov. Ortum’s Associates in Lokoja

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Men of the Nigerian Army on Saturday paraded four criminals who have been terrorizing residents of Lokoja, Kogi state capital.


The suspects, who claimed to have served as political ‘mercenaries’ to politicians loyal to Benue state Governor Ortum, were said to have engaged Soldiers in a shootout along the Felele axis in Lokoja. The suspects sustained gunshots in the encounter.

The Public Relation Officer of the Command Army Records, Lokoja, Capt. Nick Ejeh, while parading the suspects said that they were in military uniform when they were arrested.

The suspects, according to him are Japhet Ataem, Saviour Daower, Joseph Usar and Isaac Danold, all from Guma Local Government Area of Benue.

He said that the suspects were carrying out a robbery operation when they were sighted by soldiers on patrol who engaged them in a shoot out.
According to him, some of the suspects sustained gunshot injury during the encounter. He said three of the suspects escaped arrest.
Ejeh expressed concern on the increasing use of military uniforms by perpetrators of crimes.

Items recovered from them included one AK47 rifle, two pump action assault rifles and many rounds of live ammunitions.

The suspects claimed to have served as political ‘mercenaries’ to politicians loyal to Benue state Governor Ortum.


The self-confessed leader of the gang, Joseph Usar, who claimed to have crossed over into Kogi from neighbouring Benue State, said members of the gang “work as mercenaries”, while also engaging in other criminal activities, at other times.


Another member of the gang, Japheth Atehi, who said he’s Tiv, claimed to have newly joined the gang, owing to ‘lack of work”

Governor Yahaya Bello who was present when they were paraded, enjoined the people of the state to partner with government in ridding Kogi of criminal elements.

He commended the Army for their untiring efforts at fighting criminality, both in the state and other parts of the country.

His words: “The task of fighting criminality is not for Mr. President alone. I call on my colleague governors, local government administrators, the chiefs, community leaders, to join hands with Mr. President, to bring criminality down.

“Here in Kogi, we are spending a lot of efforts and resources in fighting criminality despite our meagre resources. We are spending a lot to secure life and property, and I expect my colleague governors who have boundaries with us to do the same.

“Residents must cooperate with government and security agencies, if you don’t condone them, crimes will not thrive.”

Bello commended community leaders who helped in the arrest of the criminals and tasked residents to continue to partner with security agencies to make the state safe for all.

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