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.