BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN— Edo State Police Command, yesterday, paraded 55 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers, including two alleged kidnap kingpins, Emmanuel Otono and David Osamu, who have been on the wanted list of security operatives in the state due to their involvement in several kidnap operations in the state.
Edo State Police Commissioner, Foluso Adebanjo, who paraded the suspects, including one Oyigbe whose house in Sabongida Ora in the state, was used by kidnappers to keep victims.
Among the 55 were also armed robbers, child defilers, cultists and car snatchers. Ammunition were also recovered from them.
Adebanjo said: “We have arrested some of the kidnap kingpins. Some are still being interrogated. They are the ones involved in the kidnapping of some persons in Benin. I can tell you that the war against kidnappers in ongoing.
“We are doing everything to make sure that the state is safe. We have a lot of them that have been arrested. Some are being investigated.
We ‘re ready— Police
“We are not relenting. The job of protecting our people is a tough one. But we are doing our best to ensure we work day and night. Even though these criminals are giving us a lot of problems, we will continue to pursue them until we apprehend them.”
Speaking on the preparedness of the police to check kidnapping ad other violent crimes this Sallah, Adebanjo said: “As for Sallah, the police is very ready. We had a meeting with all the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, weekend.
“I have directed special security in all the mosques. I will be out there with my men to ensure we have a hitch-free Sallah in Edo. We are battle ready for any thing, including the kidnappers.”
Meantime, members of Benin and Ekpoma branches of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, have extended their boycott of courts for another week to protest what they described as incessant kidnapping in the state.
The association had stayed away from court sittings since last week, to protest the kidnap of Justice Daniel Okungbowa, who was released last Sunday.
Vanguard learnt that the kidnappers of Justice Okungbowa may have cut off one of the fingers in his left hand.
Though this was yet to be confirmed, it was learnt that it might be one of things that angered members of the association into prolonging the court boycott for another one week.
It was learnt that officials of NBA informed their members of Okungbowa’s release at a meeting on Sunday in Benin City and that was where they lamented the harrowing experience he went through in the hands of his kidnappers.
Efforts made to reach the judge proved abortive. Vanguard was informed at his Benin residence, by security operatives that he was not in town.
NBA chairmen react
However, chairman of the Benin branch of NBA, Mr. Oriame Akere, told Vanguard: “In our monthly meeting, yesterday (Sunday), we agreed that we should boycott court till Monday next week.
“The reason is that we are protesting the insecurity in Benin and along the Benin-Abuja road. The judge has been released and we are happy for that. But we are not happy with the general insecurity.”
Also, chairman of Ekpoma branch, where Justice Okungbowa sits, Bola Adelanke, said: “We have passed a resolution that we will be on strike until he is released and we thank God he has been released.
“But the major thing is that security agencies have to do more so that the issue of kidnapping is solved permanently. Government should empower the youths so that they can be gainfully employed and take their mind off crime.”
Asked to confirm if the judge’s finger was chopped off, Adelanke said: “I have not seen him but I also heard it. I cannot confirm that now because I have not seen him personally.”