Edo Train Kidnap:  Govt Puts Victims Figure At 20, Says 13 Remain In Captivity 

Edo Train Kidnap:  Govt Puts Victims Figure At 20, Says 13 Remain In Captivity 

By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City 

The Edo State Government on Wednesday said that latest intelligence on last Saturday’s kidnap at an Igueben train station, indicated that 20 people were actually kidnapped by the herdsmen and not the 32 figure earlier reported.

This was just as the state government announced that of the lot, only 13 remained in captivity as seven other had earlier been rescued by the joint operations of the military, the Police, vigilantes and local hunters.

Mr. Chris Osa Nehikhare, Commissioner for communication and Orientation, who made the clarifications at a press conference in Benin on Wednesday, assured that efforts had been double to see to the rescue of the remaining victims, just as he sued that in reporting the incidents, the media should pay attention to the safety and wellbeing of those still in captivity by taking out sensationalism out of their reportage.

Nehikhare added that the state deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, had met with the traditional rulers and village heads of the locality, where he enjoined them to be conscious of their responsibility of identifying strangers in their domains and reporting unusual activities to the government.

The deputy governor, Nehikhare equally warned the traditional rulers and village heads of the consequences of habouring criminals in their domains as doing so would attract full punishment, which he added, include the forfeiture of houses used for hostage abode, demolition and prosecution of landlords for murder if such a kidnap act involved the death of the victim.

“From intelligence we have, we discovered that the kidnappers are holding 13 victims as against the 31   said that only 20 persons were kidnapped in the Saturday train abduction saga, and not 32 earlier reported. Those kidnapped are 20 and so far, seven have been rescued and we are confident that the ordeals of the remaining 13 citizens will soon be over”, Nehikhare assured.

He maintained that the state government was strengthening security to check crime and criminality, vowing that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration would make the state unsafe for kidnappers and other criminal elements to thrive.

The commissioner said that the deputy governor was joined at the meeting by other top government officials, including the Senator representing Edo Central Senatorial District, Senator Clifford Ordia and the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, where he called for calm among residents of Igueben LGA, urging members of the public to provide useful information that would aid the rescue efforts by security agencies.

Nehikhare, who dismissed the insinuation that the state government rested on its oars because of the peace the state enjoyed during the Yuletide, added that the train station, where the victims were kidnapped “belongs to the Federal Government and the Federal Government assured that it has put enough security arrangements in place and we believed them”.

“But I must say that this is not the time for blame games. Our focus is to have all our people released. And I must commend the Military, the Police and our local vigilantes and hunters for their efforts so far”, Nehikhare added.

It would be recalled that the train passengers, waiting to board a train to Warri, Delta State, were on Saturday, at about 4.00pm, kidnapped by herdsmen.

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