Following what could be described as the persistent effort of kidnappers to ensure that residents of Benin City does not sleep and have their eyes closed, security agencies in the state have stepped up their efforts too to ensure that Edo state is not made a haven for kidnappers. The trend became worrisome recently, after three primary school teachers, Mrs Patience Osadolor, Patience Oroghene and Aisha Momodu were abducted by suspected kidnappers.
The suspected kidnappers later demanded the sum of N60million from the families, but later reduced the ransom fee to N7.5million. Consequently, teachers in the state embarked on protest round the streets of Benin calling for their release. They however regained their freedom last weekend. The kidnappers struck again last Monday when they abducted the Vice-Chairman of Uhumnwonde Local Government Council of Edo state, Mr Walter Aiwekhoe, while on his way to the office but escaped few hours later from where he was kept in the forest.
The incident was said to have happened at about 10am around Ugha, along the Benin-Auchi road. An eyewitness stated that the suspected kidnappers blocked the Vice-Chairman’s vehicle with a jeep and ordered him out of his car. They shot sporadically before forcing him into the waiting vehicle.However, at about 1pm, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the council, Mr Osaro Best Idahosa who earlier confirmed the incident to Vanguard said the Vice Chairman escaped from his captives at Obiaruku, in Delta State from the forest where he was kept.
According to him, “ we are celebrating here because he just called from Obiaruku in Delta state that he is presently at the police station. He said he escaped from where they kept him and ran towards the road where he met policemen. So we are going to pick him up from the police station in Obiaruku. The news of the escape doused the tension at the Council yesterday, as youths and policemen stormed the bush in search of the Vice-Chairman. Vanguard learnt that shortly after the kidnap operation, the Edo state Police Commissioner Folunsho Adebanjo went into action with his men with a view to ensure that the suspects are apprehended. The Commissioner had ordered his men to comb the bushes in the area in collaboration with youths of the area.
But following his earlier resolve to flush out kidnappers and other criminals from the state, the Edo state Police Commissioner, Mr Adebanjo paraded 44 suspected kidnappers including those involved in the recent kidnap of three primary school teachers. Addressing newsmen on the breakthrough in its battle against criminals in the state, state Police Commissioner, Foluso Adebanjo expressed satisfaction over the achievement, adding that the suspects will soon be charged to court.
“We are working day and night to ensure that crime remains low. These kidnappers we have here have been going after women and children and I have warned them before to either repent or reap the fruit of their labour. We only need the cooperation of the public, all of us must be security conscious for us to have a peaceful society.
The people we are parading now, some of them are child defilers and that is even ungodly. And people must not be careless, some of us leaves our doors open when we go to bed and most of the perpetrators of these crimes are people close to us, particularly kidnappers. We have three of those who kidnapped the three teachers and I want to use this opportunity to warn these criminals that it is either they leave the state or they repent.
You cannot kidnap in Edo state and go free. Those who kidnapped the teachers were arrested the second day the teachers were freed. We knew they were somewhere but because we don’t want to jeopardize the lives of the teachers we relaxed and were monitoring them. So they were rounded up immediately the teachers were freed. Some times when these things happen we need time in order not to jeopardize the life of the victims. Any kidnapper or armed robber in Edo state will eventually be arrested, it may take us time but we will always get them”.
The command also disclosed assortment of ammunitions and firearms, including both locally made and foreign guns, seized from the suspected criminals.While disclosing that about 500 suspected kidnappers are being prosecuted in the state, he vowed that any form of criminality in the state would be met with extreme force. Narrating the capture of some of the suspected kidnappers, who masterminded the abduction of Patience Osadolor, Patience Oroghene and Aisha Momodu, teachers of Orhogbua Primary School, in Ekenwan community, Ovia North East Local Government Area, who were recently freed from abductors den, Adebanjo stressed the need for residents to beware of people, some of who he said parade themselves as community leaders.
One of the suspected kidnappers, Morrison Gajah (45), who claimed to be a community leader, confessed to purchasing the guns used in the teachers’ abduction, but denied being in the know of activities of the perpetrators. He said, “I am chairman of Ekenwa community CDA and over a year ago, we bought two locally made guns and one Pump Action from Joseph Oteh. We were keeping them in the community, but I shuttle between there (Ekenwan) and Benin and these boys (pointing at (Edimere Pawuru), who had the weapons in their custody, to commit the crime.”
Pawuru in turn denied direct link with the teachers’ abduction, claiming that those that carried out the act escaped from their houses on sighting the police.Among others paraded were armed robbery suspects, including Onaiwu Jeffrey, Omoghia Jesuf, Ibrahim buba, Ebose Endurance, Sunday Esosa, Imafidon Ehigie and Osazee Oshenoma, who the command said it recovered, two locally made pistols, seven live cartridges, two hand gloves and four handsets.
Friday Sunday, a 24 year old man was arrested for defiling a four year old daughter of his wife. He narrated that, “ I am from Cross River State. This small girl we are talking about is the daughter of my wife, she had her with another man before we got married. She was staying in the village until they brought her to come and stay with us. I even opposed it because we were just starting life but she insisted.
So she brought her to the house and we have been staying together and I took her like my one daughter. But it was on Monday when the mother traveled to Lagos, that day the twin sister of my wife came to stay with us in the house so all of us were playing together. But it was on Friday at about 12pm that I don’t know what came over me and I fingered the small girl. I did not insert my penis into her honestly. But devil entered inside me to finger her”.
The Police also paraded one 47 year-old Godwin Idon Ojeikhoa who confessed murdering his wife Maris at Uzebba, Owan West local Government Council of Edo state, over alleged confiscation of his documents by the deceased. According to him, “ I actually stabbed her with a kitchen knife because I discovered that my Unity bank pass book and the land document I kept in the house was missing. I asked her where the papers were but she refused to answer me. So I asked her to return the documents but she refused. So I started beating her and in that process I stabbed her with a knife. She started running I pursued her and used a 2×2 plank to heat her to death. I don’t know what came over me”
Also, one 18 year-old Bukola Ojo confessed how she murdered one Elvis Zaka who reside at Asese Street, off Upper Sakpoba Road. She narrated that “ Elvis has been making advances at me and said he loves me but I said no I am not interested in any relationship with him. He has been bothering my life for a long time now. But that particular day, I was eating when he came and he dipped his finger inside the soup and I got up and started abusing him. But he dragged my head and hit on the wall. Then I got a machete and threw at him so that he can leave me alone but I did not know that it gave him a deep cut in his stomach and that was how he died”.