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 killing 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 worsening 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 marched through some streets in Abuja to the National Assembly and the police headquarters.
They stated that in March this year, a former local government chairman, Mr. Suleiman Malik-Afegbua, and some persons were kidnapped by suspected herdsmen along the Benin-Ehor Road.
They added 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 kidnapped victims had been released, which was not true,” they added.
The protesters pointed to several other kidnap incidents after the killing of Malik-Afegbua, especially “farmers, women in the Ewu, Uromi, Ubiaja and Ebigbere communities of the state.
They listed the case of an environmentalist, Dr. Andy Ehanire, who was kidnapped on September 24.
They alleged that three policemen were killed while confronting the kidnappers.
Similarly, the protesters recalled the incident on October 3 when a renowned musician, Mr. Osayomore Joseph, was also kidnapped.
Okpamen added, “To cap it all, and on a very sad note, criminals struck again on October 5 with the assassination of professor of Engineering at the University of Benin, Paul Otasowie.
They lamented the lack of cooperation in intelligence sharing among security agencies in the state, a development, they believed, had further compounded the security situation.
“At a point and on a daily basis, the Okada junction in the 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 stated that though the Police Service Commission had redeployed Gwandu through a July 5 letter, the commissioner had remained in the state.
Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission said it was currently investigating some state Commissioners of Police, adding that it had received official complaints and petitions of alleged abuse of office against them.
The Permanent Secretary in the commission, Mr. Musa Istifanus, stated this while receiving the leadership of the Concerned Citizens of Edo State.
Istifanus said the commission had received several complaints and petitions against some CPs, who were allegedly going against laid down rules and regulations.
He added, “The commission takes very seriously issues of abuse of office especially by state CPs which could lead to anarchy. The complaint from the Edo group will be expeditiously handled; we will not allow anarchy in Edo State. We will immediately look into this complaint and take a decision on it.”
Istifanus, however, called on the group to remain calm and lawful and allow the commission to do the needful, promising that the issues raised in their petition would be addressed.