An unnamed police officer was allegedly killed in Gaando, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State on Friday during a protest by youths in the area over high taxation.
The youths were said to have barricaded the road close to a Dangote Cement Company in Tse-Kucha for over four hours, causing traffic gridlock and leaving motorists stranded.
According to a source, the enraged youths lamented the high tax imposed on them by the state government on food produce especially tomatoes and pepper.
The protest however, became bloody when men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad were deployed in the area to quell the protest. The youths who were also said to be armed, were believed to have engaged them in a gun duel. The police officer was said to have been killed in the process.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yanu, who confirmed the incident in a telephone chat with our correspondent, said 16 persons have already been arrested and undergoing interrogation.
Meanwhile the Governor, Samuel Ortom, has expressed his administration’s willingness to collaborate with a United States-based non-governmental organisation, Mercy Corps, in a bid to help vulnerable persons including those displaced internally.
Ortom, who received the Country Director of the organisation, Iveta Ouvry, at Benue People’s House, on Friday, said Mercy Corps’ programme was in line with his administration’s focus on improving the lives of under privileged persons.
He said the activities of the non-governmental organisation and that of the state government would be synchronised in such a way that targeted communities would derive maximum benefits.