By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, yesterday, said he could not confirm whether or not, those arrested in different parts of the state in the past three days by a crack team of detectives from the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, were militants, until after investigation.
It was gathered that several AK47 rifles, pump action guns and N9 million were recovered from the suspects, who were said to have allegedly invaded Edo State. Mr Adeoye, who confirmed the arrest of some people, said: “They are under investigation. We cannot ascertain whether they are militants or not until after investigation.”
It was learned that the covert police operation, which is ongoing, was ordered by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, following the discovery by security agencies that Niger Delta militants planned to unleash mayhem in Edo State, which led to the postponement of the governorship election.
It was further gathered that the police detectives were being assisted by the Intelligence Unit of the military hierarchy and the Department of State Services, DSS.
Those arrested, who were said to have invaded the state through the riverine communities, were arrested at a popular hotel in Benin City and Okada town. The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Henry Idahagbon, confirmed the arrest, saying that “some of them will be charged to court today.”
Prosecute any arrested militant —PDP
Reacting to the arrests, state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, called on the police and security agencies in the state to prosecute any militant arrested if there was any such arrest.
He said: “If such arrests have been made by the police, the suspects should be charged to court. We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Abudu, where those close to a member of the House of Representatives were arrested with firearms and were given bail by the court without being charged for the offences they committed.
“The state Attorney General should have nothing to do with charging the suspects to court.
“The APC knows that the PDP will defeat them during the election, hence they have been involved in several antics, including the rumoured arrest of militants. If such arrests have been made, the police are in a better position to say so and where they were arrested.”
Go for thanksgiving—Charles Idahosa
On his part, Political Adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa, said that the people of Edo State must go for thanksgiving over the postponement of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, adding that the arrest of 54 militants in the Niger Delta by the police was an indication that “our security agents are one of the best in the world.”
Idahosa said: “I only want to thank God for saving our people from massacre. PDP was shouting and criticizing security agents and APC for the postponement of the election but we never knew that the information security agents had we don’t have. I can take an oath that APC leaders were ready for that election but we never knew what was happening.
“Though we heard the rumour that these militants were in the state, but we felt they could never overwhelm our people. We will still defeat the PDP. This goes to show that the PDP’s boast that they would win, meant that they were banking on militants to help them, kill our people because of the selfish interest of a man that calls himself a pastor.”
“It is high time leaders of our Pentecostal churches start screening properly people they ordain pastors. I am saying this because Ize-Iyamu wants power by all means becauset he does not even care whether the people he wants to rule are alive or not. It is really shameful and Edo people will never forgive the PDP for this.”