Residents on edge over killings, kidnappings in Edo
• Obaseki urges citizens to remain calm, vigilant
It has been a week of horror in Edo State headlined by gruesome killings and violent kidnappings. While the governor, Godwin Obaseki, was in far away Malaysia looking for investors, a professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Benin, Prof. Paul Otasowie was gunned down by gunmen whose mission is yet to be ascertained, as they did not remove anything from him.
Otasowie was shot around his house in Siluko area of Oredo local government area of the state. The Publications Officer of the university, Michael Osasuyi, described the death as a huge loss to the university community, adding that the deceased was a hardworking and dedicated worker.
This killing came 24 hours after a music icon, Osayomore Joseph, was kidnapped and his wife shot, while the Managing Director of Ogba Zoo, Andy Ehanire, who was kidnapped a week earlier, is still in the custody of his abductors. Ehanire was whisked away by his abductors after killing three policemen who were said to be on routine guard in the recreation centre.
Few days before the kidnap of Ehanire, the Parish Priest of St. Benedict Church, Iddo 2, Okpella of Auchi Diocese, Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, was abducted along Auchi-Okene highway at around 6:00p.m. while returning from Igarra in Akoko-Edo local government area. He was released few days later.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Nkombe, told journalists that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of the lecturer. He disclosed that it was a neighbour of the dead lecturer who alerted the police on the killing, adding that nothing was removed from him after the incident.
The state capital has become unsafe in recent times with reported cases of robberies and other violent crimes, including cult-related killings. Robbery incidents have been reported in various parts of the state capital, particularly Ekenwan, Upper Sakpoba, Siluko and some parts of Airport road, with some of these robberies happening in broad daylight.
Security agencies, particularly the police are yet to get answers to the negative development even as various interest groups have called on the governor to come to the rescue of the people.
Meanwhile, the governor has assured citizens of the state that the state government is deploying resources tactfully to arrest the recent spike in security challenges. The governor also expressed deep sympathy with the family of the late Prof. Paul Otasowie.
While expressing his solidarity with the families of Andy Ehanire and Osayomore Joseph, who were both abducted recently, he called on residents of the state to be measured while making statements about the cases, in order not to jeopardise the efforts being made by the government to ensure their safe return to their families.
In a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Obaseki appealed for calm among Edo people, and urged them not to resort to extreme measures that could endanger the lives of those being held. “The State Government is working quietly and tactfully behind the scene to restore normalcy in the state and return the abducted to their families unharmed,” Obaseki said.
Many factors have been attributed to the resurgence of violent crime in the state, including but not limited to the recent legislation banning activities of Community Development Associations (CDAs) with many of the now jobless youths becoming armed gangs in communities.
The ban on private persons collecting revenue on behalf of the state government has also been attributed to the increase in crime, as the revenue collectors are believed to have become indulged in criminal activities.