The Chairman of Esan Central Local Government Council of Edo State, in Edo Central Senatorial District, Prof. Waziri Edokpa, was on Friday kidnapped along the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road in Edo.
Gunmen, also Friday, shot dead the driver of a bus in the fleet of a popular transport company and seized fourteen Abuja-bound passengers on Benin-Auchi Road in Edo state.
Whereabouts of the kidnapped council chairman and the fourteen passengers remained unknown as at press time, while the gunmen is yet to make any contact for ransom.
It was gathered that the chairmen of the four other local government councils in Edo Central Senatorial District later met with the state’s Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Kokumo, on how to secure the immediate release unhurt of their colleague and to find a lasting solution to the upsurge in criminal activities in Edo.
Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, a Superintendent of Police (SP), could not be reached at press time.
Nwabuzor had earlier stated that many kidnap attempts had in the last few days been foiled by officers and men of Edo police command at many locations in the Southsouth state.
The rising insecurity in Edo state’s eighteen local government areas, according to investigation, was caused by the October 19 looting and razing of seven police stations in the state, with the hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests carting away large cache of arms and ammunition.
Investigation also revealed that most of the fleeing 1,993 inmates of the attacked Maximum Correctional Centre (White House) on Sapele Road and Oko Medium Correctional Centre on Airport Road, both in Benin, are back to crime, especially kidnapping and armed robbery.
Edo Commissioner of Police, earlier in a telephone interview, insisted that officers and men of the command were working within existing limitations to restore normalcy to the state, while assuring that all the criminals would soon be arrested and prosecuted.
Kokumo said: “Is there any magic that we can do without vehicles, without arms and ammunition? How do you expect where 2,000 inmates escaped for things to be normal?
“Just imagine what it means that three police stations along Sokponba Road, Benin were destroyed and burnt, patrol vehicles were destroyed in many other parts of Edo State. All the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and other police officers and men in the seven burnt police stations now operate from the state police headquarters (in GRA, Benin).
“The peaceful #EndSARS protests were hijacked by hoodlums. The protests took a violent turn in Edo State, with inmates of the two correctional centres in Benin City set free. So, what do you expect?
“Some of the escapees have been sending threat messages to policemen, who investigated and prosecuted them. One of the escapees, who was convicted for murder, went that same day (October 19 this year) and he killed the prosecution witness in his village, but he was immediately rearrested.
“Everybody must be part of the restoration of sanity to Edo State. People who know the escapees should avail us information about them. I am assuring you that we are not sleeping, but with what has happened to the police in Edo State, some of these hitches are expected, but we are not sleeping and we will continue to work.”
Edo police commissioner also urged residents of the Southsouth state not to panic, but to go about their lawful businesses, while assuring of adequate protection of lives and property.
Kokumo stressed that police officers and men of the command were trying their best, in spite of the challenges.
Boko-Haram Claims Responsibility Of Killing 78 Farmers In Borno.
Abubakar Shekau, leader of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on Tuesday, revealed that the group killed 78 farmers and not 43.
Boko Haram attacked the farmers who were harvesting rice at Zabarmari community, in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State at the weekend.
Over 40 deaths were earlier reported and Governor Babagana Zulum told journalists that 43 farmers were killed.
However, in the video released on Tuesday, where Shekau boasted about the killing, the terrorist leader said they killed “at least 78 farmers”.
Our correspondent had earlier reported that Shekau claimed responsibility for the killing, accusing the farmers of handing over their members to the Nigerian army.
He warned that those in the habit of sharing intelligence on the sect’s activities with the military will face the same fate.
Governors Forum: Security Challenges Beyond Military, “We Are All Frustrated”, Fayemi Says
The Nigerian Governor’s Forum Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi disclosed that the security challenges are beyond the Nigerian military, He said, they are overwhelmed and cannot tackle the security situation affecting many parts of the country, that includes, Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery.
“We are here your Excellency, first to express our condolences to the families and loved ones of our lost citizens, and also to the good people of Borno State, and yourself as the leader of our people here.”
“But what happened in the last three days is by far beyond any imagination, it was a masacar and it was one that none of us could come to terms easily.”
“I know there is an element of fatigue that will crip into this, everytime this happens we never let you rest on your phones expressing sympathise, we come here as delegation, you speak to us about your genuine believe on what could help us tackle this challenge that is depleting our country and we pledge to take steps to engage the leadership of our country. So there is very little we can say to you now that we haven’t said before as your brothers.”
“There is nothing new that you haven’t told us, that you haven’t told the delegation from Mr President yesterday. We have all heard directly from you, your 6 point agenda, we have read it and you have just expressed to us in our private conversation. All I can say to you sir, is that we fully and wholeheartedly endorsed every single point on that agenda.”
“The reality we can all say, i personally as security scholar, the reality i can see is that our military is overwhelmed. Our military is no longer in a position to single handedly tackle this menace effectively. It is not a criticism of our military, if one were to suggest a coalition beyond that will even include our neighbouring countries who are probably more experienced in fighting asymmetrical war. It will not be a lost of our pride as a country, if that were to happen and this certainly something that we as your colleagues and brothers will put before Mr President.” Governor Fayemi said.
Governor Fayemi made the statement in Maiduguri, when they paid a visit to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to condole with government and people of Borno over an attack by the Boko Haram insurgents, where over 40 farmers were slaughtered.
He was accompanied by the Governor of Sokoto and the Vice Chairman of the Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu and that of Niger State, Abubakar Sali Bello.
The Governor also stated that, their visit to Borno is an expression of their frustration for not been able to despite many attempts make any meaningful development in the security problems facing the country.
“This not a visit to gratify ourselves that we have come to you, no, it is expression of also our own frustration that we have not been able, because we have held series of meetings, you have been present at these meetings, some with Mr President, meetings with security chiefs, we have highlighted all the issues, you have spoken, frankly on all those occasions, but we are still where we are.”
“We can’t bring back the people we have lost in the last couple of days, but if we do not take the necessary steps the entire nation will be consumed by this insurgency.” Fayemi added.
He noted that, despite all the Nigerian Governor’s Forum will continue to support the government of Borno in engaging appropriate authorities to find solutions to the insecurity.
“We need to stand solidly with you, assist in whatever way you want us to, ensuring that our government takes the right position in order to tackle this problem. I want to assure that we shall not relent as your brothers in conveying this to the appropriate authorities.” Gov. Fayemi said.
The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum who was adversely disturbed the recent gruesome attack on farmers have decried the continous attack on innocent people.
” We need to address the underlying causes of the insurgency, while appreciating the effort of the federal government in implementing some policies that are geared towards addressing poverty in the entire nation, Borno State deserve more.”
” We have said all, there is nothing new that i can say. But when shall we end this insurgency, that’s something very important.” Zulum said.
Zulum also expressed appreciation for all the members of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum for their support to Borno in time of its needs. He also thanked them for the visit.
Senate Tells Buhari To Sack Service Chiefs
With deteriorating security challenge in the country Senate on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to begin the replacement of service chiefs following the killing of 43 farmers.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan said Buhari must immediately restructure the country’s security architecture in order to fight against insurgents and secure lives of citizens.
Lawan said: “I urge the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate the transition process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions;
“I urge the President to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.”
The senate President also admonished the President to immediately set up a probe pannel into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency.
“The President should ensure all resources meant and deployed for security are actually spent on the needs on ground; impress on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighboring nations of Chad, Niger and Cameroon towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“Finally, as a way of proffering long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the Federal and States Government must adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation,” Lawan added.
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