By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”COMMERCIAL activities in Benin were almost brought to a stand still yesterday, following the peaceful protest embarked upon by Edo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against the abduction of the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Benin, Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, by unknown gun men on Sunday.
The protesters, who marched through major streets in Benin, led by a Catholic cleric, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Ofere, were also at Government House, where they were received by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Addressing the protesters, Oshiomhole cautioned against the payment of ransom to kidnappers and insisted that such payments encouraged criminality and other unwholesome acts.
He briefed the protesters of the various security measures taken by his administration when it discovered that the spate of kidnapping in the state was getting out of hand, adding that he had to write to President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua for the use of the military to complement the police in providing security for the state.
Alleging that the military was withdrawn by the Minister of Defence, Major-General Godwin Abbe, three days to Estako-Central State constituency election re-runÂ obviously for political reasons, the governorÂ Â assured the protesters that his government would do everything possible to effect the release of theÂ bishop.
Earlier in his address, Rev. Fr. Richard Ofere described the kidnap of Bishop Imasuen and other men of God as unacceptable, saying Christians in the state have decided to launch themselves into prayers to call on the Lord to take control of security in the state.
He also described as regrettable the attitude of some politicians in the state who subordinate the security of lives and property to their selfish political schemes.
He urged such leaders to have a rethink and join in the effort to rid the state and the nation of criminals and criminalities.
Rev Fr. Ofere appealed to Edo State Police Command to activate all the security formations in the state to ensure that everything was done to secure the release of Bishop Imasuen as soon as possible.