Charles Nwoke, Benin, Nigeria
Just a few hours for Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu to be inaugurated for their second tenure as Edo State Governor and Deputy respectively, as well as the State hosting the first leg of AFCON’s qualifying match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, unknown gunmen suspected to be armed robbers attacked and recked havoc in the ancient city.
The criminals, on Monday night, had their way into Divisional Police Headquarters at Igueben, the seat of Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State, killing two policemen, injuring many security personnel, and carting away a huge chunk of arms and ammunition.
The two policemen, who lost their lives to the sudden attack by the rampaging hoodlums, were Monday Asoata, an Inspector, and Esangbedo Ezekiel, a Corporal, with their bodies already deposited in an undisclosed morgue in Edo, while the injured policemen were currently receiving treatment in hospitals in the state.
Sources at Igueben, who spoke to newsmen Tuesday, revealed that the armed robbers arrived at the divisional police headquarters around 8 p.m., throwing dynamite into the police station to gain access and destabilize the police personnel on duty.
Amid sporadic gunshots, the hoodlums then headed for the police station’s armory, thereby looting the arms and ammunition, which they hurriedly carted away.
The policemen murdered, made efforts to prevent the armed robbers from attacking the station and looting the armory, but they were shot at close range.
Shortly after the attack and killing of the innocent policemen, residents of Igueben trooped to the streets of the ancient town, protesting the gory and horrifying acts, while urging Obaseki and Edo Police Commissioner, Babatunde Kokumo, to ensure a thorough investigation, the arrest of the criminals and to ensure diligent prosecution, to serve as a deterrent to others.
The protesters attributed the “premeditated” attack on the divisional police headquarters to external invaders, which they said might have been as a result of the October 19 looting and razing of seven police stations in Edo and attack on the two correctional centers in Benin, the state capital, leading to escape of 1,993 inmates, who immediately returned to crimes.
Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, a Superintendent of Police (SP), Tuesday through the telephone, confirmed the attack on the divisional police headquarters at Igueben.
He said: “On November 9, 2020, at about 19.30hrs, hoodlums suspected to be armed robbers invaded the police station at Igueben. Immediately, the police personnel mobilized to repel them.
“During a gun duel, one of the suspected armed robbers was shot dead, two policemen were wounded and they were taken to the hospital. One motorcycle, suspected to belong to the robbers was confiscated by the police. No policeman was killed in the attack.
“The police are doing their best to weed out criminal elements in that axis (Igueben) of the state. As I speak, normalcy has returned to that part of Edo.”