Investigation in Benin, Edo State yesterday revealed that drug cartel operating at the Ifon-Sabongida-Ora area of the state snuffed the lives of four policemen at Sabongida-Ora in Owan West Local Government Area.
Sources close to the area said the killing was due to the police hard line stance on drug lords in the area.
The killing came a few days after seven policemen were murdered in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The FCT killing occurred on July 2 while that of Edo State followed on July 14. Worried by the separate incidents, however, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, has announced a N5 million bounty for information that would lead to the arrest of the assailants.
This came as Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State yesterday placed a N10 million bounty on the killers. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, disclosed this yesterday at the end of an emergency security meeting between the governor and security chiefs in Benin.
The policemen attached to the Sabongida- Ora Divisional Police Headquarters were killed at a road block at Uzebba-Aviosi junction on Ifon Road, Sabongida- Ora and were burnt inside their patrol van while their official rifles were taken away by the bandits. Sources said the Uzebba area and environs were known for high production of Indian hemp.
The state Commissioner of Police, Babtunde Kokumo, described the killing as sad and unpalatable news. Kokumo also promised to talk on the killing at a later date. Meanwhile, Obaseki through his media aide, Osagie, said the meeting with security chiefs had in attendance the heads and representatives of the police, the Army, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
“Governor Obaseki described the situation as appalling and has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the killings and the arrest of the assailants. “The ggovernor announced a N10 million reward for anyone with useful information that can lead to the arrest of the criminals that carried out the dastardly act.
The governor also pledged to support the families of the four policemen killed while on duty and maintained that the killers must be arrested and brought to book,” Osagie said. Obaseki had earlier condemned the ambush and killing of the four policemen who were on routine patrol in Sabongida- Ora.
Like in the Abuja case, the IG has ordered a thorough investigation into the Edo killing. The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Jimoh Moshood, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, however, clarified that there was no established link with the two incidents. While the July 2 attack was executed at a junction in Galadimawa, where the policemen were said to be conducting routine stop-and-search operation, the Edo four were attacked during patrol operations. Idris has also directed the processing and payment of the dead personnel’s entitlements.
“The IGP has… directed a thorough and discreet investigation into the recent ambush and killing of four Policemen at Sabongida-Ora in Edo State on the 14thJuly, 2018 by armed robbers while on patrol. “As a result of the ambush, the police patrol vehicle burst into flame after the attack and the four policemen died in the process.
“The investigation conducted so far has not established any link between the two attacks, but public spirited individuals and other good Nigerians have been giving useful information to the police in the progressive investigation into the two unfortunate incidents.
“In order to arrest the other suspects still at large in the first incident, the Force is desirous of more credible information from the public, and hereby pledges a reward of N5 million to any member of the public that provides useful information that leads to the arrest of the remaining perpetrators of the ambush and killing of seven policemen in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on the 2nd July, 2018 or the recent ambush and killing of four policemen on patrol at Sabongida-Ora in Edo State on the 14thJuly, 2018.
“The Force wishes to assure that the informant will be protected and his/ her identity secured,” Moshood said On July 3, a day after the Abuja incident, the IG set-up a team of Specialized Crack Investigation Detectives, Police Scene of Crime Experts and Technical Intelligence Unit of the Force to, among other things, undertake a comprehensive investigation, with a view to bringing perpetrators to deserved justice. Idris also ordered Commissioners of Police (CPs) “and their Supervising Assistant Inspectors General of Police to beef-up security in their Area of Responsibilities (AOR) and embark on massive raids of criminal hideouts and flashpoints across the country to forestall any further attack anywhere in the Country”.