His Excellency Gov Godwin Obaseki has re-affirmed the importance of the Police force and the enormous work they carry out in instilling peace and tranquility, combating crime, and ensuring security for lives and properties in the state, and he has implored them to kindly return to their duty posts which have been abandoned as a result of the recent ends SARS protest, which was mostly targeted at them.
With the chaos that accompanied the #EndSARS protest, policemen had reportedly abandoned their duty posts across the state, thereby leading to an increased crime rate, and break down of law and order within the state capital and environs.
Meanwhile during the said protests, hoodlums who paraded themselves as protesters burnt down several police stations, case files for those detained in several prisons, looted several police weapons, and also took away several items perceived to be valuables to them.
Most significantly while attacks were being carried out on police stations, there were jailbreaks recorded in Benin city at sapele road prisons and Oko prisons facilities where 1,993 inmates were reported to have escaped in the process.
With the absence of the police and security personnel, The state has a witnessed series of robberies and assaults on lives and properties. Just recently, two young men where apprehended on robbery allegations at Upper Sokponoba area in Benin. They were immediately subjected to ‘Jungle Justice’ as the were beaten mercilessly with irons and Bamboo sticks after which they were burnt alive.
Another incident was also reported to have occurred at Erediauwa close to the popular Santana market in Benin were some other criminals were also given severe beatings almost to the point of death before being rescued by some men of the police force.
Many are of the opinion that these happenings are because of the absence of the Police force and as such citizens are now taking laws into their hands and handling cases of perceived criminals as they deem fit, and most of the time ‘jungle justice’ is the only way they know how to operate.
The Governor while paying a solidarity visit to the commissioner of police Johnson Kokumon, urged him and his men to come back to their duty in order to restore parity to the state. He also said his administration would pay hospital bills for officers who were injured during the crisis.
“Edo state government will now proceed immediately to begin to rebuild your destroyed buildings. We already ordered some patrol vehicles and we hope it will be delivered in the next few weeks. We will responsible for the hospital bills of officers injured in the last few weeks,” he said.
“Every inmate that escape from our correctional centres will be arrested. Hoodlums burnt the centres thinking they have destroyed particulars of escapees but they don’t know that their biometrics were not within the centres.”
The commissioner Mr Johnson Kokumon responding to the courtsey visit said that they are also working behind the scenes and that the Police command had arrested 126 criminal suspects, and that out of that number, 10 of them were inmates who escaped from the prisons.
He also mentioned the fact that some officials of the Police force, numbering up to eleven were also attacked and injured and that 10 of them had been discharged from the hospital while one of then is still recuperating at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
Hopefully the police would heed the call of the state government and return to their duty posts, as Edo State seeks to restore all that was lost during the protest and to secure lives and properties from crimes, which tend to spike during the yuletide season.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese.
November 5. 2020