Edo communities raise the alarm over rising insecurity


Criminals have laid siege to Edo State, especially in Esanland in Edo Central Senatorial District, with the indigenes raising the alarm over the frightening insecurity and the imminent famine over herdsmen’s attacks.

The indigenes of Esanland, consisting of five Edo Local Government Areas of Esan West, Esan Central, Esan Northeast, Esan Southeast and Igueben, yesterday at their maiden news conference at the Press Centre of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin, declared that enough was enough.

They condemned the incessant kidnappings and other criminal activities on the ever-busy and strategic Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Abuja Road, which has Ambrose Alli University (in Ekpoma) and the Federal Polytechnic (in Auchi), while urging the government and security agencies to brace up to tackle the menace.

Esan critical stakeholders, under the aegis of Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), a non-political and socio-cultural group for unity, had their text read by the President, Matthew Egbadon, a former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, while the Esan indigenes earlier yesterday visited Governor Godwin Obaseki at Government House, Benin.

The group also strongly decried the spate of marginalisation of Esan people in federal and state appointments, stressing that Edo state which was founded on a tripod 30 years ago, should be run on the basis of equity, fairness and justice to all its component parts.

The concerned indigenes called on Edo government, to as a matter of exigency, enact the state’s anti-open grazing law, in line with the recent decision of the governors of the southern states of Nigeria, while also lamenting the waning of Esan language, and called for industrialisation of Esanland.

The group said: “EOI is concerned about insecurity on the highway between Benin City and Ekpoma; and particularly within Esanland. Our people can no longer travel to Benin City, the state capital, to transact business without the risk of falling into the hands of kidnappers and bandits.

“We wonder whether the security forces have given up and allow these criminal gangs to operate freely without inhibitions day and night, on this road.

“In addition, the entire Esanland has been seized by the jugular by these marauders and kidnappers, who have killed scores, maimed, raped our women, destroyed farmlands and property, and induced payment of ransoms by their hapless victims.

“No day has passed in recent times, without reports of these bandits wreaking havoc on innocent and law-abiding Esan people, many of whom have been forced to abandon their farmlands and trades for fear of being raped, maimed, killed or kidnapped, and made an object of ransom negotiations and payments.

“The situation has become dire, as our people, who are subsistent farmers, are now faced with scarcity of farm produce and high prices of the few available goods.

“Famine is imminent, as farmers have abandoned their farms, as the bandits have laid siege to all farmlands and major roads in Esanland.

“While we, in EOI, appreciate that the issue of insecurity is a nationwide challenge, the seemingly helpless situation of our people in Esanland, in the face of coordinated attacks and abductions, is of grave concern to u.

EOI also urged Obaseki’s administration to ensure, as a matter of importance, that the bushes, on both sides of the road, between Benin and Ekpoma, should be cleared, to ensure that the bandits and kidnappers would no longer have a ready hiding abode, from where they launch their ambush and attack unsuspecting road users.



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