The alarming level of insecurity in Edo state worsened on Friday, with the kidnapping of Chairman of the Esan Central Local Government Council, Prof. Waziri Edokpa.
Although details of the kidnapping are still sketchy, Igbere TV gathered that the council boss was taken away by unknown gunmen with contact yet to be established with the family.
Similarly, a bus filled with passengers belonging to a popular transport company in the state (name withheld), was said to have been equally abducted.
Both incidents happened along the popular Benin – Ekpoma Expressway which has, in recent time, become a ‘safe haven’ for kidnappers and armed bandits.
Only today, a 400-level female medial student of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, was kidnapped on the same road with her abductors demanding for N7 million ransom.
Commenting on the incident, a crime reporter in the state, Mr Festus Alenkhe, said, “attention has now shifted to all major express roads linking Benin city as suspected bandits are now unleashing mayhem on innocents travellers on the various routes.”
Meanwhile, Igbere TV gathered that all passengers of the transport company traveling to Abuja from Benin were kidnapped and the driver reportedly killed.
As at press time, the whereabouts of all the kidnapped passenger-victims – including the council chairman – are unknown.
When contacted, spokesman for the Edo state police command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the police was yet to be briefed on the incident.
“We have not been briefed (yet), the command is not aware of such development, once I am briefed, I will let you know,” the police spokesman said on phone, Friday afternoon.
Igbere TV, however, gathered that local government council chairmen from Edo South are presently in a closed-door meeting with the commissioner of police, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo.
“The security meeting is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the current increase in crime rate in the state”, a source at the meeting disclosed.
The people are now appealing to the police authority and state government to deploy the mobile policemen recently posted to Edo state.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, says that no fewer than 110 farmers were killed in Saturday, November 28 attack on rice farms in Zabarmari community in Borno state.
Earlier reports claim 43 persons were killed in the attack.
However, in a statement released on Sunday afternoon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said at least 110 persons were ruthlessly killed in the attack.
“I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack.
In early afternoon of 28 November, armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields in Koshobe and other rural communities in Jere Local Government Area. Reports we are receiving are indicating these innocent farmers were the victims of this callous violence.”
Kallon, while condoling with the government and people of Nigeria, said
“I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the civilians who lost their lives in this atrocious attack. I also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the incident.”
The UN chief also lamented that several women may have been kidnapped in the attack.
“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety. My thoughts are also with the rural communities in the area, who are shocked by the brutality of yesterday’s (Saturday’s) attack and fear for their safety. The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State is outraged by the incident. Such direct attacks against innocent civilians jeopardize the ability for the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity they are facing, and which we are striving to alleviate.
The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice. It is unfortunately one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunity after over a decade of conflict.
I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity.”
Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships. Helping them to farm land and rebuild livelihoods are amongst our priorities and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in Borno State. They and all other civilians need to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.
Innocent women, children and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times.”the statement read