Edo Govt Confirms Shooting Of 5 Soldiers By Gunmen

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Edo State government has confirmed that three soldiers attached to Okomu Oil Palm in Ovia South West Local Government Area were last Friday shot by gunmen.

Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen.

The state government disclosed this on the heels of the ban on Okhaigeles (youth leaders) in the seven local government areas that make up Edo South Senatorial District.

The ban had led to a disagreement between the state government and the Palace of the Oba of Benin.

While the state government insisted that there is no going back on the ban, the palace insisted that the Okhaigeles are part of the traditional institutions of Benin Kingdom and cannot be banned by government.

Giving reasons for the ban, the state government stated that “some so-called youths” on Friday, June 7 opened fire on three soldiers attached to Okomu Oil Palm in Ovia South West Local Government Area.

Nehikhare said the soldiers were injured, thereby throwing the community into pandemonium.

He vowed that in the coming weeks, government would proceed on a full-scale operation to disarm the criminal elements and neutralise their threat against public peace.

Governor Godwin Obaseki had on June 4, while receiving the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City, raised the alarm that the state government is having a running battle with bandits and terrorists. 

According to the governor, “We have a few challenges like the one that relates to the maritime border, particularly Ovia River axis where we have been having running battles with bandits and terrorists in the last few months.”

Obaseki stated that people are using Ovia River to bring in arms and engage in all sorts of nefarious activities.

“We need calm in that axis because we want to commence the development of Benin River Port and it is important to guarantee the safety and security of our partners that will be working in that axis,” he said.

He called for more surveillance in the area and solicited the support of the Nigerian Air Force in tackling insecurity in the locality.

It would be recalled that three staff of Okomu Oil Palm were on Monday, May 6 killed by gunmen while working on the plantation.

Also, on May 13, gunmen, who identified themselves as ‘Ijaw Freedom Fighters’, invaded Imariogha community close to Okomu Oil palm plantation, killed one person and set houses and cars ablaze.

It was gathered that the ethnic militia, who entered the community through the riverside, left a note of their demands on the chest of the victim.

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