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Soldiers’ deployment divides Edo community

BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE, Benin
The Otuo community in Owan East local government area of Edo State is now divided over the deployment of soldiers to the area to their community to provide security during last Saturday’s botched National Assembly (NASS) elections.

The army has come under severe criticisms for alleged partisanship in the area.
While the Otuo Union (OU), an umbrella organization of Otuo Community called for the immediate withdrawal of soldiers from the community, another group, Omolotuo National
Congress (ONC), says the call was not a true reflection of the people wish.

The Otuo Union had said that the call for withdrawal of the soldiers was on account of their alleged role in the “intimidating, brutalizing and destroying the psyche of our people”.

Its National President, the Rev Peter Okhaide and General Secretary, Mr Aizokhai Omokhafe, in a statement also demanded the release of “all our innocent sons who were taken away by the soldiers as prisoners of war in this infamous show of shame”.

“As we speak two Hilux loads of armed soldiers are still patrolling the streets of Otuo, perhaps to maintain their continued siege on the town.

However, ONC said the presence of the military in the area has saved what would have been mayhem.

National chairman of the group, Chief Ayo Odifiri said the coming of the soldiers has helped in checking the activities of youngmen whohad been reruited by politicians to cause mayhem during the election.

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