Edo Security Council meeting

Tougher days await criminals lurking in some parts of Edo’s forests to perpetrate their heinous crimes as the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and heads of the various security agencies in the state have adopted new security measures to dislodge these criminals from the state.
Announcing some of the plans after the state’s Security Council meeting on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Obaseki said: “Principally, we looked at the data for incidence and we noticed that there has been remarkable drop in incidence of crime in Edo state within January and February, yes; February is not over yet, but at least from the first three (3) weeks of February, we saw the incidence of crime drop from a total of about 170 incidents reported in January to about 86 in February.”
He added: “This is remarkable and I am glad that at least we are beginning to put issues of crime under control. We also looked at the issue of the collaboration of operations which is being undertaken to flush out kidnappers from the state, the successes that have been achieved in the Ovia axis and how to extend the successes to other areas of the state especially within the next two to three months where we normally see an increase in herder-farmer clashes.
“We also used the opportunity of the meeting to inaugurate the committee on Private Property Protection in the state and the Council committed itself to provide the necessary security backup for this committee to work, and the committee is also supposed to come back to the Council with specific assistance it requires to undertake its activities.”
The Governor added: “The various security agencies also agreed to submit to the committee, all the cases relating to land matters that have been reported to them so that they can have a short list of the cases they can start with.
“We looked at the issues of unregistered vehicles as they affect criminal activities in the state.”
On the anti-open grazing law, Obaseki said: “What we said was that we were not going to promulgate any laws that we cannot enforce, so we had wide range of consultations with our people across all the communities to say look, if we are going to ban open grazing, what is the alternative and how do we enforce that law rather than just promulgate a law and not having any means of enforcing?
“So people met, they agreed, communities have said yes; we would make grazing land available for a cost and this is how it will be administered. So now we can make a law to say you can graze openly and if we see you grazing, then we have the right to seize your cow or take whatever actions because you had an option of taking your cattle to graze in a particular place and not allowing them wander through the streets.
“But that is separate from the issue of criminality because some of the reports we got during the operations last week, some of the equipment, the arms being used by the so-called criminals, were long ranged riffles, they are not even AK-47, they are equipment that are more sophisticated than riffles. So let us not mix the issue of farmer-herder clashes with that of sheer criminality or bandits who are profiting from their criminality in the guise of being herdsmen.”
Shedding further light on the activities of the police in the state, Commissioner of Police, Philip Ogbadu said that the police have undertaken some strategic operations in recent times, highlighting the deployment of over 120 security personnel to flush out bandits from forests in the state.
“Acting on intelligence, we went in, dislodged and flushed out the criminals from those forests. We got intelligence of a few of them trying to come back and we have redeployed this afternoon that group, but we are also increasing the deployment to other areas because as you dislodge them from the Ovia Forest, they move to adjourning forests towards Owan and then to Etsako. So operationally, we are working on how to make sure we flush them out of Edo State.
On the arrests that have been made, the police commissioner said: “Well in the operation we don’t intend to arrest those that didn’t commit any crime, it is those that destroy crops, kill our citizens, rape our women and kidnap people that we arrest.
“As at now we have suspects linked to various kidnapping cases and some of them are actually singing. Between January and now we have recovered three Riffles and 3 Ak-47 guns and we still have some out there we are still looking for. Some of them we have arrested have been on our wanted list.
On the strategy, the police chief explained: “So we go for the leaders of the group who will bring their members. Don’t forget that these people are in groups and very mobile. It is this group that we are hunting that will go to Agbor Road, Sapele Road, Asaba Road. When you make one place hot for them they will go to another place.”
Speaking on the locations of the arrests, Ogbadu however said the police will not disclose “the locations because there are some things we won’t bring out for you to know now, but we have the principal ones in our custody.
“Well the total number of kidnappers arrested for this season, I won’t be able to tell you but they are many. We have the ones on our wanted list that we have been looking for since last year.
“I want you to know that some of these persons, once you get the main person, they go out of the state. So if you begin to go on the air to tell them this and that, they have access to this information on radio and television so we try to minimise it as much as possible.”
On the arrest of vehicles without registration numbers, the Edo State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps Henry Benamaisia, said: “We found out that criminals don’t register their plate numbers and they move around.
“As a result we have set up a task force starting from today. If we see any vehicle been used or paraded by criminals, we would arrest them.
“You must know that there are plate numbers in the state, because the federal government through the Federal Road Safety Corps has approved 5,000 plate numbers for the state.
“So there is no excuse for somebody not to register his vehicle and get a number plate. We also found out that for the month of January, the crisis we had were a little bit high and number of death was also high, but for the month of February, it was not high because we discovered that speed is a major causative factor of death on our roads.
“Consequently, it is compulsory for every commercial bus in the state to install their speed limiting device and the Governor too has graciously given us that permission. So if you are a commercial vehicle in Edo state, if you don’t have your speed limiting devices it’s an offence.
“There is no body that is exempted, because plate number is an identity, once you do not have the identity that means you are a criminal. You must be identified, in case there are crisis, if you don’t have any plate number, there is no way to get to you. So, there must be identity. So, I told you that the Governor has given us the permission, there is no person, whether a politician, he must be brought to book.
“That’s what I am saying that your plate number ought to be identified, you don’t have the right to seal your number plate, because if you conceal that number plate and if there is a crash there is no way to trace you.
“So all plate numbers should be open, must not be sealed. So starting from today, the Governor has given us that directive, a matching order which we and other security Agencies working together are going to implement. So, if you mix road safety, you will not miss the Civil Defense and if you miss the Civil Defense you will not miss the Department of State Service. So, it’s a massive operation that will be going on all over the state.
“Edo is not a lawless state; Edo is a state that keeps law and order. So, the Governor here is a law-abiding citizen. The deputy Governor is the head of the south-south which is the head of the activities for road safety in the state. Edo State was giving an award for giving us massive support so we are going to take it to the next level working with other security agencies.
On the best way to deal with the issue of cybercrime in the state, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Oluwole Iyamu (SAN), said: “We are looking into attacking the root causes. We were told for instance that they even have schools where they are trained on these processes and just as this state took the lead in attacking human trafficking over five years ago, and the result of which we are seeing  now, we have discovered that there is a need for a massive and full blown attack on cyber-crime  amongst our youth so that we do not  lose an entire generation and because now schooling has become unattractive to them, they are no longer going to Libya and Italy, now it is cyber-crime.
“We need to attack the issue, get to the root cause and also sensitise our parents and relations and the rest of the society just the same way we took on human trafficking, we would take on cyber-crime and it is our hope that working with law enforcement agencies and in particular the EFCC, it will not be a matter of arresting people and putting them in prison, it will be a matter of attacking the root cause and the sources and promoters.
“That was the net result of the discussions between the Governor and the Chairman of the EFCC Chairman and we expect that, that will manifest in actual programmes and activities in the weeks to come.”
The Attorney-General who was present at the recent meeting between the State Governor and officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), added that “one of the major areas of discussion was the question of cyber-crime and the large involvement of our youth.
“We also discovered that from the data presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arising from their own research which correlated with our own, we found out that the age bracket of persons involved in this cyber-crime is majorly 15 to less than 30, and 80-90 per cent of the actual cybercrime they get involved with are the dating scams outside of course from the usual fishing of trying to get people’s account details.”

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