Increasing insecurity: Edo protesters petition Buhari, Saraki, Dogara, demand redeployment of CP Gwandu
Protesting Edo State indigenes on Monday demanded the immediate redeployment of the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, Mr. Haliru Gwandu, over rising cases of killings and kidnapping in the state.
They petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari; the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, citing cases which remained unresolved.
They also demanded an apology from the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, for allegedly not doing enough to address the security situation in the state.
“We, the concerned citizens of Edo State are gathered here today to share our pains with Mr. President; the President of the Senate; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the worsening security situation in our state”, they stated.
Led by their Coordinator, Mr. Henry Okpamen, the protesters matched through some streets in Abuja to the National Assembly and the police headquarters.
For instance, they said in March this year, a former local government council chairman, Mr. Suleiman Malik-Afegbua, and some persons were kidnapped by suspected herdsmen along the Benin-Ehor Road.
They disclosed that he was later killed by the kidnappers.
“Strangely, while the family was still negotiating the release of the other persons who were kidnapped along with Malik-Afegbua, the commissioner announced to the whole world that the kidnappers had been released, which was not true”, they added.
The protesters pointed to several other kidnapping incidents after the killing of Malik-Afegbua, especially “farmers, women in Ewu, Uromi, Ubiaja and Ebigbere communities in the state.
There was the case of an environmentalist, Dr. Andy Ehanire, who was kidnapped on September 24.
Three policemen were said to have died while attempting to confront the kidnappers.
Similarly, the protesters recalled the incident on October 3 when a renowned musician, Mr. Osayomore Joseph, was also kidnapped.
Okpamen spoke further, “To cap it all, and on a very sad note, criminals struck again on October 5 with the assassination of a Professor of Engineering at the University of Benin, Paul Otasowie.
“For these recurring criminal activities to occur in one geopolitical location in the state, one does not require a scientific sense or robotic technology to know that this area is a flashpoint that warrants increased police presence and enforcement.”
They also complained of lack of cooperation in intelligence sharing among security agencies in the state, a development further compounding the security situation.
“At a point, and on a daily basis, the Okada junction in Ovia North-East Local Government Area became a criminal hideout with adverse implications for residents and travellers along the Lagos-Benin Expressway”, they said.
In addition, the protesters observed that though the Police Service Commission had redeployed Gwandu through a July 5 letter, the commissioner had remained in the state.
Among others, they called for the enforcement of the redeployment of Gwandu and the “deployment of a team of intelligence officers to work with a new CP to ensure that intelligence information is analysed and used to process the arrest of suspects in the state.”