By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY-A vigilante member identified as Efe Igbinoba was yesterday shot dead by gunmen dressed in military uniform at Obadolovbiyeyi community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
Vanguard gathered that the incident which caused Pandemonium in the community, started Wednesday when the local vigilante group in the community arrested some herdsmen for alleged armed robbery on the Benin-Abraka expressway.
Igbinovia was said to have been directed to watch the arrested herdsmen while his colleagues conducted a search for the fleeing members of the robbery gang.
However, a group of armed men in military uniforms suddenly stormed the area and fired sporadically and shot Igbinovia dead in the process. After which they freed the arrested herdsmen and took them away in a Gestapo manner.
Vanguard was informed that the armed men were said to have arrived the community in a Honda car marked, AP 641 KTN.
Two of the gunmen were later attested by the police. Some angry youths protesting the killing prevented a commercial bus conveying two of the herdsmen, earlier arrested, to the Benin Central Hospital for medical treatment before the intervention of personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
One of the youths, Henry Osemwengie, said that the vigilante group had earlier arrested about six herdsmen for robbery and took them to the Ogbekun police station.
Osemwengie said, “Two of the herdsmen were caught. Igbinovia was asked to stay. Before then, the police had been called to come and pick them (herdsmen) because that is what we normally do. Suddenly, a red Honda car with about four of them putting on military uniforms with AK47 rifles came and started shooting.
“Igbinovia shouted that he had been shot. When the other people (vigilantes) came back, they discovered that Igbinovia was already down. They (armed men) killed him and went away with two robbers. Robbers, most of whom are Hausa, usually operate there. They keep their cows by the side, block the road and start robbing.”
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, confirmed the incident.
Kokumo said, “The herdsmen were alleged to have blocked the expressway. Two of them are with the police undergoing interrogation.
On the alleged killing of the vigilante by armed men in military uniforms, Kokumo said, “That is an allegation we are investigating. Actually, one of the vigilance members died in the course of duty.”