BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Residents of Edo State are currently breathing a sigh of relief with the marked improvement in security across the state following the anti-crime strategy of the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, backed by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
In just one week as the new sheriff in town, Kokumo’s heat on kidnappers is yielding unprecedented result with three persons abducted by kidnappers last month, released from the kidnappers’ den, aside the proactive and aggressive policing across the state.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has made real his promise to implement the state’s new security architecture with the new Police Commissioner, a promise he made while receiving Kokumo last week at the state Government House, in Benin City, as the new CP.
“Although it is not yet uhuru with regard to the security situation in the state, there is remarkable improvement now,” Mr Ode Silver, a resident of the state said.
Mrs Joy Ahanor simply said “Edo is safer now, compared to the days of the former police commissioner.”
To the credit of the new partnership between the Edo State Government and the police command is the release of three kidnap victims and the arrest of over 50 suspected criminals.
“We will give you the needed support to succeed. We believe that the responsibility for restoring law and order rests with the police. We hope that you will fulfill your constitutional responsibility by helping us enforce law and order in Edo State,” Obaseki promised.
The governor urged the new police boss to urgently change the security plan he inherited to curb crimes in the state. “We need to change the entire security architecture in the state and together we will work to implement it and address all the security challenges in the next one week,” he added.
In response to the governor’s appeal, barely 48 hours of assuming work as the Commissioner of Police in Edo state, the kidnapped retired Superintendent of Police, Chief James Omafuaire regained his freedom.
He was abducted two days earlier with his wife and one other person by suspected Fulani herdsmen at his Ikpeshi quarry site in Akoko Edo Area of Edo State.
Omafuaire’s release was followed by the arrest of seven members of the gang suspected to have murdered a lecturer at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. Paul Otasowie.
The lecturer was shot dead by gunmen at his private residence on October 4, in Benin City.
Parading the suspects along with 46 other suspected criminals; kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists and car snatchers, the state police commissioner, Mr. Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, said the Professor’s mobile phone was recovered from one of the suspects, adding that family members of the lecturer have come forward to identify the phone.
On his fifth day in office the Edo State Police commissioner paraded four suspected kidnappers who abducted one Mr Andy Ehanire, the manager of Ogba Zoo and Nature park, in Benin.
They allegedly killed three policemen in the operation and were said to have collected N25 million and $100,000 as ransom were arrested in Sapele, Delta State.
Confirming the incident, Spokesman of the Edo State police command, DSP Moses Nkombe, said the suspects were arrested in their hideouts.
He said “We are making effort now to recover arms and other things. They were arrested in Delta State early Thursday morning and they were already in Benin before 5a.m. They have confessed to the crime. One of them who shot the policemen and the driver are among the people arrested.”
The arrest of Ehanire’s kidnappers was followed by the release of the relative of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who was kidnapped in Edo North, but abandoned in the bush after the new police commissioner and his men charged at the kidnappers.
On Thursday, November 2, Popular Edo musician, Mr. Osayomore Joseph, who was kidnapped by gunmen was released. Osayomore regained his freedom on Thursday after spending almost a month in captivity.
His manager, Mr. Frank Ugbomah, and State Chairman of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Mr. Willy Eghe-Nova, confirmed his release.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN