June 25, 2024

Why Edo Gov. Read Riot Act To Criminal, Cultists

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…Assure to offset medical bills for wounded officers

By Simeon OSAJIE

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Edo State Government on Sunday 9th June, 2024 has read Riot Act to criminals and cultists terrorising residents including those who attacked soldiers in the state, vowing that efforts to flush out criminals operating under the guise of cult groups and Okaigheles are in top gear.

Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation,  Mr. Chris Nehikhare disclosed this to newsmen during a visit to wounded soldiers and a police officer shot by suspected cultists in Okomu – Ijaw Community in Ovia South-West Local Government Area.

While pledging the Edo State government support to foot the bills of the wounded military officers receiving treatment at the Military Base Hospital in Benin, city, Edo State, Nehikhare, said that the attack on soldiers by civilians in the Okomu community is not unconnected with the nefarious activities of cultists.

Nehikhare, who said the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki frowned at the attack on military personnel, said a task force has been set up by State Government led by the Director of the State Security (DSS) to combat cult groups in the state.

According to Nehikhare, “It is not right in any way for the military to be attacked in any community in Edo State. A few weeks ago, we were all aware of what happened in our neighboring Delta State, where over 20 soldiers were killed by some youths.

“In Edo State, we have a bad case of cultism and what we also call Okaigheles(Youth Leaders) in Benin and across Edo South Senatorial District.

“The data available to us provided to the State Security Council have said that these are the people that are mostly responsible and a threat to the security in Edo State.

“That is why this group of people were banned, and a task force set up to look into their activities to neutralize whatever evil plans they have.

“As the governor placed a ban on the Okaigheles (youth leaders), we discovered that some people also went ahead to say they should ignore the government ban. There’s only one government at a time, and that emboldened these people  to go into Okomu forest in our community to attack our soldiers, protecting our assets. One of the soldiers is on the bed in critical condition. Three officers,  an officer, and two soldiers were badly injured.

“The gun boat they were in were destroyed and riddled with bullets.  This is happening in Edo State.  We don’t want a situation where we will be losing soldiers to civilians or reckless and dangerous cult groups.

“We plead with our leaders, the leaders of Edo South especially,  to rein in their children and rein in these  people that they have armed one way or the other because the arms they are using  are kept somewhere,  they are provided by somebody. Now, they are using  it to attack soldiers,  not only soldiers,  even civilians on the streets of Edo state.

“We have come to quickly visit the wounded officers and the Army to plead with them and importantly to let them know we will take care of whatever bill is incurred and to assure them that Edo State government will not tolerate this untoward behavior.

“We don’t want what happened in Odi Community in Bayelsa State to happen here in Edo or a repeat of what happened recently in Delta to happen here.

“It is a serious matter, and all Edo people, irrespective of political affiliations, must support the government in this fight against cultism and killings going on. Since January till date, we have lost 150 people in cult related violence.

“I am here to plead with the Army, and we are happy that the Army is a very responsible organization, who did not take the laws into their own hands,  if not the story would have been different today.”

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