A farmer, Martina Akpan and her family are still in shock with palpable fear evident on their faces following an attack by hoodlums suspected to be Indian hemp merchants over missing bags of Indian hemp allegedly kept on their farm.
The hoodlums, who allegedly threatened to wipe out the family, were said to have attacked Isaac Akpan, the younger brother of Martina while working on their farm at Bolorunduro, in Akure North local government area of Ondo State.
It was gathered that the suspected Indian hemp traders numbering about 40, who were armed with dangerous weapons, invaded the farm where they allegedly beat Akpan to a pulp after he was said to have been queried over the disappearance of bags of Indian hemp kept on the family’s cocoa farm.
According to Akpan’s sister, Martina Christopher, who was on her way to the farm on the said day, she met the hoodlums with her brother forcefully sandwiched on one of the motorcycles.
Martina, who rushed back home, alerted her father, Joseph Akpan, 72, about the incident, as both later traced the hoodlums to Ilu-Abo, few kilometers from Bolorunduro where they met Akpan in a lifeless state after series of torture.
Martina, who was also attacked at the residence of the hoodlums, narrated the experience she and her father went through, which she described as harrowing.
She said, “I went to the farm very late on the fateful day because I just had a miscarriage and was tired but decided to join my husband and brother at the farm because we had left the farm unattended to for some days because of my father in-law burial.
“I saw about 40 of them on 15 motorcycles, and I saw my brother who had been beaten and injured tucked into some two persons on one of the bikes, I had to turn back and I was told he had been taken to Ilu-Abo.
“I went there with our father, only to find my brother has been beaten injured and immediately they saw us, they descended on us and beat my father to coma, demanding to know where the bags of Indian hemp were kept.
“My father fainted and as I tried to touch him, they matchetted me while some of them beat me with sticks and I also fainted because I have lost a lot of blood.”
She further explained that the hoodlums who boasted that they cannot be arrested, threatened to wipe out the whole family if they failed to produce the bags of the Indian hemp, disclosing that some officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, were invited to the scene “who advised them to hand us over to police”.
Martina also revealed that the quick intervention of her husband, Augustine Christopher and the Akwa Ibom community in the area, who reported the case to the police saved her life as they were taken to the hospital where she said they were revived.
While speaking on the attack, the husband of the victim, Augustine Christopher, 42, said “We are cocoa farmers and have nothing to do with Indian hemp. I am calling on the security agents to fish out these people, though two of them have been arrested but we still have many of them across the communities in Ogbese, Bolorunduro and other communities around here who have been a pain in the neck to ordinary farmers”.
Confirming the incident, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Femi Joseph, who disclosed that some arrests have been made in connection with the development, maintained that investigation is still on to apprehend others involved in the crime.
He also confirmed that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gbenga Adeyanju, has ordered the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department, CID.