Residents of Benin City, the capital of Edo State, and environs have expressed fear over the rising cases of cult-related killings and armed robbery in different parts of the city.
It was reported that an unconfirmed number of persons have been killed between Monday and Saturday following a cult clash between Eiye and Vikings cult groups.
On Sunday, it was learnt that three more persons were killed by suspected cultists in addition to several others whose dead bodies littered different parts of the city in the past week.
Two corpses were seen in the early hours of the day at Urohra Street junction, while another one was sighted at Pipeline junction in the Eyaen axis of Benin.
Other parts of the state where corpses have been sighted in the last one week in Benin include Idogbo, Y-junction, Nomayo, Three House all along Sakponba Road.
Other areas are Ogida Barrack, Siluko Road, Constain area in New Benin, Aduwawa near Oando filling station, Upper Mission, near Ewa Road junction, Cherubim, and Seraphim area of Upper Mission.
Apart from the escalating cases of cult killings, there is an upsurge in robbery incidents across the state capital which has shut down nightlife.
A resident of Oko Central, off Airport Road, Godwin Akpama, said the situation had become a nightmare to him.
Mr Akpama, a business centre owner, said he had reduced his hour of operation in his business centre due to the increasing cases of robbery incidents.
He said, “We are really worried about this whole development. The unfortunate situation is that the police are no longer acting because the EndSARS protests that were hijacked by thugs demoralised the police. We call on the state government to take positive steps to address the matter.”
Another resident of Ogbilaka Street, off Benin Sapele Road, Marta Usen, lamented that the cult clash in the state capital has a negative effect on economic activities in the state.
Mrs Usen said, “This is completely unacceptable. How can we have this kind of situation persisting for over one week and the government is not taking action about it? It is so sad. The authorities concerned should urgently intervene because we no longer sleep peacefully.”
Some residents have constituted themselves into securing their lives and mete out instant justice to suspected thieves.
Two suspected thieves caught last week along Sakponba road and burnt alive while another caught at Omoruyi off Sapele Road was beaten to a pulp.
A few young people in Amagba area of the state capital have formed a guard around the area screening all vehicles going and coming out of the place
One of the youth, Osaretin Hassan, said, “We will not wait for the miscreants and hoodlums who had made Upper Sakponba and other affected areas of Benin inhabitable to bring their lawlessness into our community.
“We have resolved to join our vigilante group to patrol, check, and monitor the security situation in our community and we will make sure that Amagba is safe for all.”
Police seek information to recover stolen arms
However, the police in the state have called for information from the public to recover stolen arms and ammunition from police stations that were destroyed and burnt in the state.
At least seven police stations were vandalised and burnt by hoodlums at the peak of the #EndSARS protests in Benin.
When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, said the attack on police facilities, burning of police stations and patrol vehicles during the #EndSARS protests which later violent have affected their operations.
Mr Kokumo, however, promised that they will come back to their normal duty of checking crime and criminality in the state.
He said, “Take for instance Upper Sakponba in Ikpoba-Okha axis, three police facilities were burnt down displacing the DPOs and other police officers in these divisions. These officers now report at the state command headquarters, we now send them on patrol from there so you should expect some hitches but we will continue to work and get things right.
“The EndSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums has impacted negatively on police operations and unleashed attacks on police facilities. How do you expect where nearly 2000 inmates escaped for things to be normal?
“We were doing our best to arrest the criminals in Edo before the jailbreak and we are equally trying our best to see that the escapees are re-arrested and brought to book. The media should also appreciate our efforts, it is not all the time you condemn the police. Is there any magic we can do without vehicles, without arms and ammunition?
“All these arms and ammunition were carted away under the eyes of some people, some people are having information about these and they are not giving us the information, let those who have such information give us so that we can go after them.”