By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Benin Forum, an umbrella body of all Bini, led by the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, and former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, have condemned the sudden withdrawal of soldiers in the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Edo State and called on the Federal Government to reconsider the decision in the interest of the people.
While the Benin Forum urged the relevant authorities not to sacrifice the security of the people in the state to partisan politics, Owie described the withdrawal as illegal since the order was not from the President who approved it earlier.
According to Edebiri, â€œon behalf ofÂ Benin Forum, I want to appeal most sincerely to the Minister of Defence and other relevant authorities to reconsider the decision to withdraw the soldiers in the Joint Task Force.
â€œTheir presence in the state has ensured some measure of peace and sense of security since they arrived the state.
â€œWe do not want such a situation where the security of the people of the state is sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics.
â€œWe call on all concerned to leave politics out of the matter and consider the safety and security of the masses in whatever decision they are taking.â€
Senator Owie recalled that â€œsince the president approved the soldiers to participate in the security outfit, crime rate in the state has reduced drastically.
â€œThe president that gave the approval for the JTF is not around, so why would somebody else give a contrary order?
â€œI wish to appeal to the PDP to allow free and fair election in Etsako Central to avoid chaos in the state.
â€œWe are aware of all they have been plotting, but withdrawing soldiers will be endangering the lives of our people. So, I feel that was an unfortunate decision and I urge the Minister of Defence to reverse the decision because it is anti-people of Edo State.â€