Marauding gunmen unleash wanton killings in Edo State
When marching orders fail to come from relevant authorities over the spate of senseless killings in Edo State in the last two months, only the extremely brave and powerful tends to be safe in the state amidst the gruesome activities of armed bandits and gunmen that have taken over the once most peaceful state in the country.
In Edo, the fear of imminent attack by gunmen is the beginning of wisdom as never a month goes by without recording one death perpetrated by this evil men of the underworld suspected to be assassins on rampage.
With their style of operation, which involves killing their victim without carting away any valuable, which suggests and gives a clear indication that these marauding gunmen are fast and furious in the heinous and criminal act like only assassin.
To the curious mind, the killings are many sided, and thus demand urgent attention to address this state of insecurity that has taken the state backwards in its glory as the heartbeat of the nation, which now sadly parades herself as the heartbeat of fear, killings and assassination in recent times.
In the month of July, precisely on July 8, the media had a share of the pains that characterized the gruesome killings of a media practitioner and reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority NTA, Lawrence Okojie.
Okojie was gruesome murder by unknown gunmen in the heart of the city on his way back home from work.
Stakeholders in the media industry including the International Press Centre (IPC) and the Edo State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ has condemned the murder of 33years old Lawrence Okojie.
Reports confirmed that the deceased was dropped off by NTA staff vehicle at the popular Oguola Junction off Siloku Road in Benin City around 8p.m on Saturday July 8 and thereafter called to inform his wife that he was on his way home shortly before he was attacked and killed by unknown gunmen.
His distraught wife made frantic efforts to reach him, but all effort was unsuccessful signalling apprehension and immediate search that led to the discovery of his corpse in a morgue in the city the following day Sunday night.
Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, described the killing of the journalist as shocking, unfortunate and therefore deserving of urgent investigation and arrest of the culprits.
Unmindful of this young dedicated and hardworking NTA reporter’s murder by gunmen in July, one would expect that measures would have been put in place by the state government and security agencies to curb insecurity as well as tighten security within and around the state.
Sadly the security agencies also suffered another loss to the devices of this criminal elements barely a month after the journalist murder when an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp NSCDC, Rawlings Osagie was murdered in his home in Benin City by unidentified gunmen.
Rawlings until his gruesome murder was an assistant Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The NSCDC operative was shot dead at his residence when he returned home from work late on Monday August 14.
Elder brother to the deceased, Aghatise Osagie, who confirmed the development disclosed that his younger brother Rawlings was shot in the stomach by the gunmen and that he died at a hospital from the bullet wounds sustained after the shooting.
As many reported and unreported killings in the state in the last quarter, many is of the view that the killings that have so far been recorded in the state is alarming and not unconnected with cult related killings and robbery attacks.
Meanwhile robbery attacks on the Benin Lagos road by the popular Okada Ofosu axis has lead to the untimely death of many particularly drivers and road users plying the busy road as the axis is a flashpoint and also notorious for armed robbers activities.
Most of the victims of the highway armed robbery attacks are the newspapers circulation vehicles drivers on early morning distribution routine of newspapers from Lagos head offices to Benin City and its encirons as well as haulage drivers and commercial luxury bus drivers, some of which have been killed and others maimed by these gunmen laying siege at the Edo state axis of the road.
The incessant robbery attacks on the road has forced some motorists to protest and keep the road closed in the case of robbery until after the state government had made commitment to ensuring their safety on the road against indiscriminate robbery on the Okada Ofosu axis of the road.
The state of insecurity has heighten as even a member of the disbanded Community Development Association CDA Youth Chairman, Lambert Igbinuwahia in Oghoghobi community, along the Benin Sapele Road in Benin City was shot dead by gunmen yesterday,the most recent of the killings.
The spate of killings now confirms that Edo is no longer in safe hands as hardly a day, week or month goes by without a story of alleged murder or killings in the state.
It is saddening that despite the huge resources by government to provide for effective security of lives and property, little or nothing have been achieved in the area of adequate security and protection of Edo people.
To further confirm the already bad situation, the Edo State Police Command has said that 16 students of the state-owned University, have so far been beheaded in cult-related attacks.
The Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, made the disclosure when he briefed newsmen in Benin City on the successes of the command in the fight against crime with the arrest of 61 suspected armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists and rapists.
Gwandu, who stated that 17 suspected cultists have been arrested with assorted arms, explained that 16 other students in the institution were beheaded during a recent cult war.
He said that some senior lecturers at the University who were abetting cult activities in the area would not go free as the long arm of the law would meet them with stiff punishment.
The police chief said that leakages in the boundaries between Edo and neighbouring states have been blocked with adequate security put in place to ensure crime rate is minimally reduced.
Gwandu however called on parents and other stakeholders to be on guard and educate the people on the need to shun cultism because the command will not rest until Edo State is rid of any form of criminality.
But in a swift reaction, the university management debunked the claims by the school’s Deputy Registrar, Information/Public Relations Officer, Mr. Edward U. Aihevba, who described the claims as false and embarrassing.
He said: “The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma is horrified by the false news story making the rounds in the print, electronic and social media, credited to the Edo State Commissioner of Police, that three lecturers of the university have been arrested for alleged cult-related activities.
The commissioner is reported to have further said that firearms were recovered from the arrested academics and that a double-barrel gun, single barrel gun and one pump action gun were recovered from a professor.
In the wake of these wanton killings, trading of blames cannot be helpfully but proactiveness and action on the part of security agencies to addressing the killings is necessary with the state government marching word with action to decivisely deal with anyone found wanting in cases of criminality.